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Prominent US Democratic Party activist convicted in 'party and play' deaths

Ed Buck, 56, arrives for a campaign rally in Hollywood, California, September 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

LOS ANGELES, July 27 (Reuters) - A wealthy former U.S. Democratic Party activist accused of giving fatal doses of methamphetamine to two men he invited to his suburban Los Angeles home for sex was convicted on Tuesday of nine federal criminal counts.

Ed Buck, 66, was convicted after a nine-day trial in U.S. District Court at which prosecutors said he solicited men for "party and play" sex games in which he gave out drugs or injected them into his partners.

Two of the men suffered fatal overdoses at Buck's apartment in West Hollywood: Gemmel Moore, 26, on July 27, 2017 and 55-year-old Timothy Dean in January 2019.

Buck, a prominent local and national figure in Democratic politics who contributed to the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, faces more than two decades in federal prison when he is sentenced.

Prosecutors said at trial that the wealthy political donor targeted homeless or otherwise vulnerable men, most of them Black, for his "party and play" sessions. Buck did not testify in his own defense at trial.

Jurors found him guilty of two counts of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, and two counts of enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution.

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