The trial of former Angels communications director Eric Kay in the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs has been pushed to late January.
In a brief order issued Wednesday in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. District Judge Terry Means granted the motion by Kay’s attorneys to delay the trial that had been scheduled to start Monday.
Means wrote that “a failure to grant the requested continuance would deny counsel for the defendant the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”
The trial is now slated to begin Jan. 24, the sixth new trial date since Kay was charged in August 2020.
The latest postponement came after a grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Kay on Tuesday that added the distribution of oxycodone to an existing charge alleging he distributed fentanyl.
Kay’s attorneys, Michael Molfetta and William Reagan Wynn, sought a delay, writing earlier this week that the superseding indictment undermined their trial strategy and that they needed at least 30 days to prepare to defend the revamped charge.
Prosecutors opposed the request, arguing in a response by Assistant U.S. Atty. Lindsey Beran that oxycodone had been added “so as not to confuse the jury” and that defense motion was “just another attempt to cause additional, unwarranted delay.”
Skaggs was found dead in a Texas hotel room on July 1, 2019, before the Angels started a series against the Texas Rangers. An autopsy by the Tarrant County medical examiner found Skaggs choked on his vomit that resulted from “mixed ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication.” Law enforcement discovered a counterfeit oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl in the hotel room.
Prosecutors allege Kay had distributed oxycodone to Major League Baseball players since 2017 and provided the fentanyl that resulted in Skaggs’ death. Kay has pleaded not guilty.