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Jury finds ex-Angels employee Eric Kay guilty of distributing drugs that killed Tyler Skaggs

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Former Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay was found guilty by a jury of both distributing opioids in the Angels organization and providing Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs with the fentanyl-laced pills that later killed him, according to ESPN's T.J. Quinn.

Kay's sentencing hearing is reportedly scheduled for June 28, with a minimum sentence of 20 years. Both charges of which he was convicted are felonies.

The trial spanned more than a week, with opening statements on Feb. 8 and closing statements on Thursday. Jury deliberations were short, lasting under three hours.

Skaggs family attorney promises lawsuit against Angels

Skaggs' family released a statement celebrating the verdict, but still lamenting the loss of the pitcher. Their attorney Rusty Hardin also released his own statement promising civil action against the Angels for allegedly being aware of Kay's drug trafficking and calling for MLB to take furtheraction on the issue.

The Angels released their own statement lamenting both the loss of Skaggs and what was heard during the trial, and thanked MLB and the MLB Players Association for changes made in the league's drug policies.

Eric Kay case was ugly for Angels

The verdict officially finds Kay responsible for the saga that began when Skaggs was found dead in a Texas hotel room during an Angels road trip. The southpaw was later found to have asphyxiated on his vomit, with a combination of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system.

Skaggs' death rocked baseball, but also created a number of uncomfortable questions on how he received the pills.

The resulting investigation and trial led to further revelations of opioid use in the Angels organization. Five different Angels players —Matt Harvey, Mike Morin, Cam Bedrosian, Blake Parker and C.J. Cron — were called to the stand and testified they received pills from Kay, per the Los Angeles Times. Another player, Garrett Richards, was shown to have sent $1,700 to Kay in three different transactions via Venmo.

Harvey admitted to taking Percocet and sharing them with Skaggs, and also testified he saw Skaggs snorting oxycodone in a clubhouse bathroom. The 32-year-old pitcher could face a 60-game suspension for those revelations.

Kay's defense amounted to claiming that Skaggs received his opioids from a source other than the defendant, including Harvey, but the jury was apparently comfortable placing responsibility for Skaggs' death on him.

Former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay, left, walks out of federal court where he is on trial for federal drug distribution and conspiracy charges in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. Kay is accused of providing Tyler Skaggs the drugs that led to the pitcher's overdose death. The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in July 2019 in a suburban Dallas hotel room. He had choked to death on his vomit, and a toxic mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone was in his system. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Eric Kay faces a minimum of 20 years in prison. (AP Photo/LM Otero)