Prominent Houston attorney hired by late Angels pitcher's family

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Well-known Houston attorney Rusty Hardin has been hired to represent the family of late Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who choked to death on his own vomit while under the influence of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone, according to an autopsy report released Friday.

The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed.

Hardin, whose name is synonymous with celebrity cases, formerly represented Roger Clemens, Victoria Osteen, Warren Moon, and who could forget his courtroom drama with Anna Nicole Smith.

The Skaggs family says they want answers after a toxicology report shows he fatally choked on vomit after ingesting a combination of drugs and alcohol.

Now his family believes another team member may have something to do with his death, saying in part, "We were shocked to learn that it may involve an employee of the Los Angeles Angels. We will not rest until we learn the truth about how Tyler came into possession of these narcotics, including who supplied them. To that end, we have hired Texas attorney Rusty Hardin to assist us."

Skagg's death comes after Rice University football standout Blain Padgett was found dead after taking a single pill containing the powerful drug carfentanil, a pill prosecutors say he got from a trusted former football player.

His family told Eyewitness News their son was in pain from a shoulder injury and thought the pill supplied was hydrocodone.

Federal investigators are now tackling the opioid epidemic, this week raiding 36 Houston area clinics and accusing one doctor of prescribing two million powerfully-addictive pills in just 15 months.

In a statement to the LA Times, Hardin said it was too early to talk about legal action against the Angels organization, saying in part, "We're going to want to know how it came about that those drugs were ingested and whether or not others are responsible for what happened."

The Angels say they are deeply saddened to learn how Skaggs died and are fully cooperating with the police investigation.


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