Wealthy, well-connected Dem donor Ed Buck sentenced for overdose deaths of two black men

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(Video Credit: KTLA 5)

Wealthy former Democratic donor Ed Buck was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Thursday over the drug overdose deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean that took place in 2017 and 2019 at his West Hollywood apartment after he gave them methamphetamine.

Buck is now 67 and his crimes range over at least a decade. He was accused of luring vulnerable young black men, who were homeless, poor, or addicted to drugs, back to his place for sexual encounters where he would first inject them with methamphetamine and drug them with sedatives. It reportedly didn’t matter to Buck whether they consented or not according to federal prosecutors.

“Buck’s insatiable appetite for injecting people turned lethal twice,” according to a memo issued by prosecutors who had recommended a life sentence for the Democratic donor. He was found guilty last year of supplying methamphetamine to his two victims resulting in their deaths.

Buck would reportedly find his victims via social media platforms, dating and escort websites, or by referrals from other victims. He offered a finder’s fee for such referrals according to evidence presented in court.

He filmed many of his drug and sexual encounters, according to the LA Times. In a graphic video played at trial, he gave stage directions to a masked man who was smoking methamphetamine, “Stare directly into the camera, flare your nostrils and blow it out slowly. Now, if you add wide-open eyes to that, it would be a perfect shot.”

At one time, Buck donated over $500,000 to mostly Democratic entities. He also served as one of California’s Electoral College members in 2016 and supported LGBTQ and animal rights causes.

Buck worked as a male model and then profited handsomely from selling an Arizona company he rescued from bankruptcy.

He later helped lead a 1987 campaign to recall Republican Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham, according to CBS News.

Buck was convicted on two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. He was also found guilty of “enticing Moore and another man to travel to Los Angeles to engage in prostitution; knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine; and using his West Hollywood apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics such as methamphetamine, and the sedatives gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam,” according to ABC7.

Prosecutors contended that the deaths were a result of Buck’s “fetish” for injecting men with ever-increasing amounts of methamphetamine until they passed out.

“Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the wealth and power imbalances between himself and his victims, who were unhoused, destitute, and/or struggling with addiction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Norell declared in a court filing. “He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.”

“Buck’s lack of remorse is aptly captured in one image: As he was hiding out in a hotel, evading arrest for Gemmel Moore’s death, he was injecting Dane Brown, another young black man, with back-to-back slams of methamphetamine,” Norell claimed.

The defense countered that the victims had severe medical conditions that resulted in their deaths, attempting to deflect blame from Buck. It didn’t work. Buck also refused to testify in his own defense.

During the two-week trial, over 20 witnesses were called to testify. That included four men who recounted smoking methamphetamine that Buck gave to them. They were then pressured to allow Buck to inject them with the drug.

The defense put forth an acquittal motion that contended the only evidence that Buck distributed methamphetamine and other drugs was provided by “the testimony of a parade of financially motivated houseless individuals” and drug addicts, therefore making it non-credible. The motion was denied by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

Buck’s attorneys also claimed that Buck was not to blame because he was sexually abused as a child and had a spiraling drug addiction due to health problems.


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