Eric Kay trial: closing arguments will take place on Thursday

FORT WORTH — After nearly four dozen witnesses testified over the course of a week, Eric Kay’s trial for his role in the death of Los An...


FORT WORTH — After nearly four dozen witnesses testified over the course of a week, Eric Kay’s trial for his role in the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs came to a close on Wednesday, attorneys for Kay ending their file. Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday.

Kay, who was the Angels’ communications director until 2019, is accused of supplying Skaggs with fentanyl, an opioid that led to the pitcher’s death in a Dallas-area hotel room that year . If convicted of the charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in death and grievous bodily harm, Kay could face decades in prison.

In a rare insight into drug use among major league players and the problems inherent in the acquisition and distribution of illegal drugs, prosecutors argued that Kay provided Skaggs with drugs that were disguised to look like oxycodone but were actually fentanyl, an opioid cheaper to produce but 100 times more potent. A medical examiner and multiple toxicologists testified that fentanyl in Skaggs’ blood was the most likely cause of his death at age 27.

Kay chose not to testify in the case, but a day after former Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey and three other former Skaggs teammates testified that they had received pills from Kay, several other players spoke on Wednesday. Andrelton Simmons, a shortstop who played for the Angels from 2016 to 2020, said Skaggs had planned to come out the night he died, and Trevor Cahill, a veteran pitcher who spent the 2019 season with Los Angeles, said stated that he had encouraged Skaggs to stay.

“He asked if he was going out that night,” Cahill said. “I said no. Lay your body down. Get some sleep.”

Another former Angels pitcher, Blake Parker, testified that he also received pills from Kay.

Parker, who was in tears as he spoke, said he bought Kay 10 pills – he couldn’t remember if Skaggs told him to get drugs from Kay – but returned them afterwards that his hand went numb when he took one.

Parker said drug use is not entirely uncommon among major leaguers, and professional athletes keep tight circles to protect secrets and their images. He also testified that he was hesitant to ask Kay for more pills once it became clear that Kay was trying to seek treatment for his own opioid addiction.

“He told me he didn’t want to go back and get involved with the guys he was getting them from,” Parker said of Kay and his opioid-buying connections. Parker said he didn’t want to put Kay in a “bad position.”

The defense also called Garet Ramos, Skaggs’ half-brother, to ask who was in possession of Skaggs’ phone after the pitcher’s death and whether Ramos had helped wean Skaggs off a former pill addiction.

Ramos denied deleting text messages from Skaggs’ phone.

The charges will be read Thursday morning and closing arguments will be presented, after which jury deliberation will begin.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Eric Kay trial: closing arguments will take place on Thursday
Eric Kay trial: closing arguments will take place on Thursday
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