Shelby Talcott on October 3, 2019
A federal grand jury indicted Democratic mega-donor Ed Buck Wednesday in the cases of two drug overdose deaths in his home and he faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.
The grand jury indicted the 65-year-old on one count of distributing methamphetamine, which resulted in 55-year-old Timothy Dean’s death in January. This follows charges in September regarding the 2017 death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, who also overdosed and died at the businessman’s West Hollywood apartment.
Federal prosecutors also charged Buck with three other counts of distributing meth. The grand jury noted he had a pattern of giving drugs to men in exchange for sexual favors, The New York Times reported.
“Buck exerted power over his victims, often targeting vulnerable individuals who were destitute, homeless, and/or struggled with drug addiction, in order to exploit the relative wealth and power imbalance between them,” the grand jury wrote according to the indictment, The NYT reported.
Following an investigation into Moore’s death in 2017, other men came forward to describe their experiences with Buck. One man said he thinks Buck injected him with drugs while sleeping, according to The NYT.
After Dean’s death in 2019, authorities looked into Buck again and more men came forward about encounters involving sexual favors and drug. Another man said Buck gave him a syringe and said it contained meth, according to a September criminal complaint, but he believes it was actually a tranquilizer.
Authorities arrested Buck in September after a third man overdosed, but survived, in his home. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Buck in this man’s overdose and added additional charges for Moore’s death shortly after.
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Prosecutors discovered at least 11 victims over the last two years. Most of them are black, including the two men who died.
“He mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness,” Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a September court filing. “Using the bait of narcotics, money, and shelter, the defendant lures these vulnerable victims to his home. From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes.”
Buck has donated to multiple congressional Democrats as well as presidential campaigns. He gave money to both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama during their presidential campaigns and has donated heavily to Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as well as California Reps. Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff. Some contributions have since been donated to charities, CBS Los Angeles previously reported.
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