Lodi News-Sentinel

Judge denies new trial for Eric Kay in Skaggs’ death

- — Nathan Fenno, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in Texas rejected Eric Kay’s request for a new trial Tuesday, more than two months after a jury found the former Angels communicat­ions director guilty of providing counterfei­t oxycodone pills that led to the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

In a one-paragraph order filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Judge Terry R. Means wrote that he was denying Kay’s motion “for the reasons urged by the government.”

After Kay’s legal team filed a motion last month for a judgment of acquittal and a new trial, prosecutor­s said the move had “no reasoned basis” and failed to show “prejudice, let alone the kind of miscarriag­e of justice that would warrant a new trial.”

“For almost two weeks, the jury heard how Kay dealt drugs to numerous members of the Angels’ organizati­on, how he delivered fentanyl to [Skaggs] at a hotel ... and how that fentanyl killed that young man with his boots still on his feet,” the prosecutor­s wrote in their response. “All of that evidence supported the jury’s guilty verdict, and it precludes the latest in a long series of maneuvers designed to escape responsibi­lity for his crimes.”

Prosecutor­s alleged Kay distribute­d opioids to at least six Major League Baseball players in addition to Skaggs during a twoyear period, lied to police investigat­ing the pitcher’s death, and attempted to obtain opioids through an online auction site, OfferUp, 10 days later.

The jury deliberate­d less than 90 minutes in mid-February before finding Kay guilty of giving Skaggs counterfei­t oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl that resulted in his death in a Texas hotel room on July 1, 2019, and conspiring since at least 2017 “to possess with the intent to distribute” both opioids.

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