An influential-turned-disgraced gay Democratic donor who has been linked to multiple overdose-related deaths of vulnerable black gay men in his Los Angeles home was arrested on September 17 after yet another man overdosed in his home last week, prosecutors in Los Angeles announced.
The LA County District Attorney’ s Office said 65-year-old Ed Buck, who has steered many thousands of dollars into the war chests of Democratic candidates over the years, was charged with felony counts of battery causing serious injury, administering meth, and maintaining a drug house after he allegedly injected a man with meth in his West Hollywood apartment on September 11.
Prosecutors say that same man had been at Buck’s house on September 4 and left once he realized Buck had “personally and deliberately” drugged him to the point where the man feared he had overdosed, according to court documents filed in the case. When the man returned on September 11, Buck allegedly injected him with “two dangerously large” doses of meth and tried convincing the man to stay. The victim said he managed to flee the house and hurried to a gas station, where he called 911 and was taken to a hospital.
Upon searching Buck’s home, prosecutors discovered hundreds of photos of men “in compromising positions,” though they did not spell out specifically what that characterization meant.
Others who have stepped into Buck’ s home over the years did not manage to escape. Two black men — 26-year-old Gemmel Moore and 55-year-old Timothy Dean — died of meth overdoses at Buck’ s home in 2017 and January of this year, respectively. Prosecutors until this point had not gathered enough evidence to charge Buck. After the latest overdose, however, prosecutors made it clear they believe Buck is a sexual predator who has recklessly drugged men.
“From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes,” prosecutors stated in court papers. “These fetishes include supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims… Not deterred by the senseless deaths of Moore and Dean, the defendant nearly killed a third victim last week.”
Moore, whose body was found surrounded by drug paraphernalia in July of 2017, explained Buck’ s predatory behavior in great detail in journal entries, which were found after he died.
“I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” Moore wrote in one entry, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection.”
Moore continued: “I pray that I can just get my life together and make sense. I help so many people but can’ t seem to help myself. I honestly don’ t know what to do… I just hope the end result isn’t death.”
In a written statement, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said she remains “deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators.”
She added, “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
Buck has been connected to numerous prominent Democrats dating back more than a decade, some of whom now say they have returned his donations. He was also involved in the LA political scene, having served on the steering committee of the local Stonewall Democratic Club before he was booted following the second of the two deaths at his home.
Buck contributed $1,000 to former President Barack Obama’s first campaign for president and $2,700 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid, and he also has chipped into the campaigns of several current Democratic members of Congress, including Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Representative Ted Lieu of California, and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, also of California, among others.
Lieu announced he was donating money collected earlier from Buck to LGBTQ and African-American groups.
Earlier this year, in an open letter published in the Los Angeles Blade, DA Lacey denied that a $100 donation Buck made to her 2012 campaign had any influence on her office’s earlier decisions not to prosecute in the deaths of Moore and Dean.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she wrote.
Should he be convicted, Buck is facing a maximum of five years and eight months in state prison. The case continues to be investigated by the LA County Sheriff’ s Department — with the possibility of additional, more serious charges — and Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes is prosecuting the case, according to the DA’ s office.