Eric Kay trial: Matt Harvey says he got pills from Angel employee

FORT WORTH — Pills passed between players and team employees. Teammates did everything they could to overcome injuries and stay on the ...


FORT WORTH — Pills passed between players and team employees. Teammates did everything they could to overcome injuries and stay on the pitch. On day six of the trial of Eric Kay, a former Angels employee, for his role in the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, Matt Harvey and three other former Angels players spoke out and said they received oxycodone from Kay.

The turbulent day, in which four former players, a toxicologist, a drug diversion expert and Skaggs’ wife Carli all testified, ended with the lawsuit halted. Kay’s attorneys will begin his defense on Wednesday.

Kay, a former Angels communications director, is accused of providing Tyler Skaggs with fentanyl, an opioid that led to the pitcher’s death in a Dallas-area hotel room in 2019, two weeks before the Skaggs 28th Anniversary.

Prosecutors argued that Skaggs’ death was the result of a pill or pills he received from Kay that were disguised to look like oxycodone but were actually fentanyl, a much stronger opioid. . A medical examiner testified earlier in the trial that fentanyl was the most likely cause of Skaggs’ death, and that belief was echoed on Tuesday by emergency medicine expert and toxicologist Dr. Stacey Hail.

Harvey, who had a reputation for enjoying the nightlife during his time as a pitcher for the Mets, testified Tuesday in exchange for immunity from prosecution. In a rare glimpse into drug use among Major League Baseball players, Harvey explained how cocaine had been his drug of choice while in New York and said he started using Percocet, an opioid, during the 2019 season. He said he shared Percocet with Skaggs.

Kay’s lawyers asked Harvey if he ever asked Skaggs to be careful about his drug use.

“Looking back, I wish I had it,” Harvey said. “In baseball, you do everything you can to stay on the field. At the time, I felt like as a teammate, I was just helping him get through whatever he needed to get through.

Federal prosecutors are trying to build a case that establishes that Kay was the only one who could have supplied the drugs that led to Skaggs’ death. The defense countered that Skaggs had multiple sources of drugs, including Harvey, and that Kay provided no drugs during the trip to Texas.

If convicted 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 to decades in prison.

In his testimony Tuesday, Harvey said he didn’t make the trip to Texas in 2019 due to injuries. Before the trip, he said he asked Kay to get some oxycodone, which he said Kay left in Harvey’s locker – a delivery system that was confirmed by multiple players on Tuesday.

Once Harvey heard of Skaggs’ death, he decided to get off the oxycodone.

“I arrived at the stadium and threw it away,” he said. “I absolutely wanted nothing more to do with it.”

Credit…Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Harvey said he was scared and worried that Skaggs’ death could have been caused by the pills. He flew to Texas to be with his teammates as they mourned Skaggs.

“I felt very bad,” he said. “He was a teammate. He was a friend. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to be with the team.

After Harvey’s testimony, three other former Angels players — CJ Cron, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin — spoke, each describing their relationship with Kay and Skaggs. All three men said they received pills from Kay.

Harvey described problems with some of the pills.

“I broke it in half and took a little piece orally,” he said. “I was shaking and sweating a lot. I struggled with that.”

Bedrosian, a pitcher who played for the Angels from 2014 to 2020, had similar testimony about the pills he said he received from Kay.

“I remember taking one, and I didn’t feel good,” Bedrosian said. “I ended up giving the rest back to him.”

Morin and Cron, who testified that their long relationship with Kay involved the routine swapping of pills, said they were related to Kay through Skaggs. And the four players who testified said there was a notable period when drugs were hard to come by, which coincided with a period when Kay was seeking treatment for his own opioid addiction.

During cross-examination of the players, Kay’s attorneys attempted to establish that Skaggs could have obtained the drugs from someone else, potentially at the Long Beach airport in California.

Later that day, Carli Skaggs took to the stage and discussed her relationship with her husband. She said she knew her husband lived with almost constant pain, but said she was unaware that the pain had led to opioid abuse. She also testified that her husband’s relationship with Kay was limited to work and that the men were not friends.

Carli Skaggs testified that the last text she received from her husband, which arrived around midnight, read “I miss you baby”.

She grew concerned when he didn’t tell her he was going to bed – a tradition between the two of them – and she started reaching out to him and his teammates. In one of the texts, she warned him that he better not get drunk and fall asleep without texting him.

“You have a drinking problem,” she wrote.

Asked about this exchange by Michael Molfetta, an attorney for Kay, Skaggs bristled.

“You’re asking me about a text that was sent in anger and said something that wasn’t true,” she said. “My husband wouldn’t answer my texts because he was dead.”

The final witness for the day was Susannah Herkert, a former Drug Enforcement Administration employee and drug diversion expert, who provided insight into claims that the players may have been approached at the Long Beach airport. She said that access to this airport is highly restricted.

After Herkert’s testimony, the government closed its case.

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

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Newsrust - US Top News: Eric Kay trial: Matt Harvey says he got pills from Angel employee
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