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OC Register: Prosecutors: Ex-Angels employee charged in Tyler Skaggs’ death supplied drugs to 5 other MLB players

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A former Angels employee awaiting trial for providing pills that led to the fatal overdose of pitcher Tyler Skaggs also provided pills to other Major League Baseball players, prosecutors said in court documents submitted Friday, Aug. 20.

In the documents, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, prosecutors said they plan to present testimony of five other players who say they received oxycodone from Eric Kay, then a communications director for the Angels, from 2017 to 2019.

The documents lay out additional evidence that prosecutors plan to present during trial.

The players were not named in the documents, nor was it disclosed if they were with the Angels organization in the time frame Kay was accused of distributing the pills.

Kay was indicted in October on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance containing fentanyl and distribution of a controlled substance containing fentanyl resulting in death or serious bodily injury.

The second charge could carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years to life in federal prison.

The case against Kay is scheduled for trial on Oct. 4 in U.S. District Court in Forth Worth.

Skaggs was found dead in a Southlake, Texas hotel room on July 1, 2019. An autopsy found fentanyl and oxycodone in his system. He was 27-years old.

In the charging documents, federal prosecutors detailed text messages that show apparent drug transactions exchanged between Kay and Skaggs the night before he was found, the result of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into Skaggs’ death.

Fentanyl is a dangerous opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The documents outline messages Kay exchanged with sellers on an online marketplace to obtain oxycodone pills, including setting up to meet sellers at Angel Stadium, offering tickets and offering at least one a signed baseball.

Kay would then send text messages to players to distribute the pills, sometimes up to 20 at a time, the documents said.

“This evidence is essential to explaining the background of the distribution that led to (Tyler Skaggs)’ death,” prosecutors wrote. “That is, the evidence shows that it was not other individuals who were distributing oxycodone to the players, but that it was Kay who was the players’ singular source for oxycodone pills.”

Prosecutors also planned to present evidence of items containing drug residue found inside a desk in Kay’s Angel Stadium office during a December 2019 search, according to the documents.

William Reagan Wynn, Kay’s attorney in Fort Worth, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Skaggs’ family in June filed a pair of civil lawsuits against the Angels and two former employees claiming negligence, gross negligence and wrongful death.

The suits claim Kay had supplied the drugs to Skaggs and that the Angels and former vice president of communications Tim Mead were aware or should have been aware enough to prevent the activity.

Those suits also claimed Kay was supplying drugs to “at least five other Angels players.”

The Angels called the lawsuits “entirely without merit,” and the allegations “baseless and irresponsible.”

Kay joined the Angels as a media relations employee in 1996 and had been a member of that staff for 24 years.

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