From being known as an animal rights activist and LGBTQ advocate to running a drug den, wealthy Democratic donor Ed Buck is headed to federal prison.
Buck has been in the news since 2017 after two black men were found dead in the 65-year-old’s West Hollywood home.
The tech entrepreneur was initially not charged with administering methamphetamine, serious injury, and maintaining a drug house and the deaths of his two earlier victims until another black man, identified as John Doe, suffered drug abuse in his home.
With the new accusation levelled towards him, District Attorney Jackie Lacey said, “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
The latest victim has accused the Hollywood socialite of injecting him with methamphetamine at the defendant’s apartment in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood, KCL reports.
The defendant, Buck, usually lures his victims, mostly black gay men with money, sex and drugs into his home. In 2017, Gimmel Moore, a 26-year-old Texas native died in Buck’s home and the coroners found drug paraphernalia at the scene.
His death was ruled as a methamphetamine overdose, but his friends and relatives did not buy it.
In Moore’s diary, he attributes his drug addiction to Buck, “I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” the journal said. “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection of chrystal meth.” Prosecutor Lacey declined to file a case against Buck when his case was reopened in 2018.
Then on January 7, 2019, Timothy Dean, a 55-year-old renowned fashion consultant for Saks Fifth Avenue, also died of an apparent overdose in the millionaire’s home. His death was ruled an accident, but it compelled the state prosecutor to investigate the homicide.
According to LA Times, “A 22-page federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday painted a depraved picture of how Buck earned his grim sobriquet. Ten men told investigators that Buck had paid them to use drugs and dress up in skimpy underwear for his own sexual pleasure.”
“Several of the men claimed they lost consciousness after Buck served them a drink, and some said they woke up to the sight of him injecting drugs into their arms against their will, according to the complaint.”
The man, who has donated half a million dollars in support of Democratic candidates, will now face a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
The ‘John Doe’, who testified in the federal document that helped the state bring the case home, is the key to closing this three-year run with Buck.
“The surviving victim’s statements gave us the break we needed,” said Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, whose office has been heavily criticised for choosing not to prosecute Buck in the past.
Lacey’s office now calls Buck a “violent, dangerous sexual predator,” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.” The court document adds that Buck used “narcotics, money, and shelter” to sway young black men “into participating in his sexual fetishes.”
Several chilling accounts of his surviving victim’s have been reported by the LA Times. Some were drugged unknowingly and woke up to see Buck injecting them with large doses of drugs.
Jasmyne Cannick, an activist who doubled as a spokesperson for Moore’s family and who has been very vocal about having Buck prosecuted, said that public pressure was the main reason Buck was arrested on Thursday.
“I am happy to give them credit, but not at the exclusion of the community,” Cannick said of the district attorney’s office and Sheriff’s Department. “There is a lot of saving face going on by the D.A.”
His bail hearing is set at $4 million but the African American and LGBTQ community would rather have him remain in jail. They feel the state would have acted promptly to the crimes committed to Moore and the other victims if they were white.