Eric Kay trial for role in Tyler Skaggs death begins

FORT WORTH — After months of delays, Eric Kay’s trial opened Tuesday as federal prosecutors began arguing that the former Los Angeles An...


FORT WORTH — After months of delays, Eric Kay’s trial opened Tuesday as federal prosecutors began arguing that the former Los Angeles Angels communications director supplied drugs to a pitcher , Tyler Skaggs, which led to the death of the player by overdose in 2019.

Skaggs’ death has rocked baseball to its core, serving as a reminder of the magnitude of a national opioid epidemic. And that led to an extensive investigation that ultimately centered on Kay. But on Tuesday, as Kay began his defense, his lawyer tried to overturn that account, suggesting that Skaggs had, in fact, been Kay’s drug dealer and not the other way around. And he said the drugs that led to Skaggs’ death may have come from teammate pitcher Matt Harvey.

Kay was charged with 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. He pleaded not guilty.

After Tuesday’s jury selection, which lasted about three hours, Lindsey Beran, an assistant U.S. attorney, opened the case by telling jurors that Skaggs, a popular pitcher who overdosed in a hotel room in suburb of Dallas two weeks before his 28th birthday, had died because Kay, who had been his drug dealer, supplied him with drugs containing ethanol, oxycodone and fentanyl.

Beran said Kay provided Skaggs with one or more blue pills, disguised to look like oxycodone, which were actually fentanyl, a different opioid cheaper to produce and far more deadly.

“It was the fentanyl in his system that killed him,” Beran said.

Kay’s attorney, Reagan Wynn, argued that the relationship between Skaggs and Kay had been misinterpreted. He said his client, who was addicted to oxycodone, had received pills from Skaggs and a clubhouse attendant, Hector Vazquez, for several years before Skaggs died.

Wynn said Kay tried to seek treatment for his drug addiction – court documents confirm that Kay sought treatment in April 2019 – but relapsed into substance use when Skaggs asked him to get drugs for the Texas road trip.

According to Wynn, Kay arranged the purchase of oxycodone. Later, Wynn said Kay saw Skaggs use other drugs, which his client claims Skaggs identified as Percocet — a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. According to Kay’s version of events, Skaggs told her that he got Harvey’s Percocet.

Harvey is on the list of potential witnesses at trial.

The trial, which resumes on Wednesday, and will likely continue into next week, could see dozens of witnesses testify, including several former Skaggs teammates.

The first witness to testify was Andrew Heaney, a 2021 Angels and Yankees pitcher who had previously been a Skaggs teammate. Heaney testified that he did not know that Skaggs abused opioids.

Marina Trahan Martinez reported from Fort Worth and Benjamin Hoffman from Connecticut.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Eric Kay trial for role in Tyler Skaggs death begins
Eric Kay trial for role in Tyler Skaggs death begins
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