Court finds Democratic donor Ed Buck guilty of all charges in connection to two men's deaths
A U.S. district court has found Democratic donor Ed Buck guilty of all charges in connection to the deaths of two men who overdosed in his apartment.
His guilty verdict, which came exactly four years after one of the victims was found dead in his residence, could lead to a life sentence, according to The Associated Press.
Buck, 66, was charged with running a drug house out of his Los Angeles apartment in September 2019. The federal jury at the U.S. District Courthouse in Los Angeles found him guilty of all nine charges, including two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death, two counts of enticing someone to travel with the intent to engage in prostitution, one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine and one count of maintaining a drug house, according to NBC News.
Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old gay male escort, died in 2017 from a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s home. His death was ruled an accident that year, until the case was reopened in response to pressure from Moore’s family and friends.
In January 2019 another man, Timothy Dean, 55, was found dead from an overdose at the same residence belonging to Buck.
Prosecutors, according to the AP, argued that Buck paid men and gave them drugs in return for sexual acts. NBC News reported that Buck injected the men with or without their consent.
Buck's defense lawyers contended that neither of the overdose victims died from methamphetamine, and that many of the alleged victims of his conduct had drug addictions, according to the AP. They also said the men at his home were there at their own will.
The state reportedly described Buck's motive as satisfying a sexual fetish. NBC News reported that he paid Black men that he communicated with online to smoke and shoot methamphetamine, sometimes leading them to become unconscious.
Buck’s trial lasted two weeks, and the jury took more than four hours to deliberate before delivering a verdict, the AP reported.
Buck has reportedly donated more than $500,000 to mainly Democratic politicians and causes since as far back as 2000, according to the wire service.
In January 2019, after news hit of a second man dying of an overdose at Buck’s home, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) announced that he planned to donate more than $18,000 in campaign contributions from Ed Buck to the NAACP and The Trevor Project, a group that works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth.
The Hill reached out to Buck’s attorney for comment.