Ed Buck: Democratic donor jailed for 30 years for giving fatal overdoses to young Black men

Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean died in separate incidents in July 2017 and January 2019

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 15 April 2022 01:30
<p>FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2019 photo, Ed Buck appears in Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles. </p>

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2019 photo, Ed Buck appears in Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles.

A prominent Democratic donor was jailed for 30 years for giving fatal overdoses to young Black men at his home in California.

Ed Buck, 67, was convicted last year for a string of drugs and sex crimes, which included providing lethal doses of methamphetamine to two men at his apartment in West Hollywood.

A court heard how for more than a decade he had brought men who were homeless, addicts or sex workers, back to his home for “party and play” sessions, in which he sexually assaulted them after giving them the drugs.

A jury convicted Buck of felonies that included including distributing methamphetamine resulting in death, and enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution. Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean died in separate incidents in July 2017 and January 2019.

His lawyers had asked US District Judge Christina Snyder to give him a sentence that would allow him to return to society, but prosecutors had asked for him to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

“If Buck were ever released he would feed his compulsion to inject others until the day he died,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

During Thursday’s sentencing, Buck offered his “condolences” to the families of his victims but continued to deny he was responsible for their deaths.

“Their deaths were tragic but I did not cause their deaths,” Buck said.

He told the court how he had spent his life suporting gay and animal rights and asked the judge to “take a look at my life in total” and not “the horrible caricature” he had been described as in court.

“Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the wealth and power imbalances between himself and his victims, who were unhoused, destitute, and/or struggling with addiction,” Assistant US Attorney Chelsea Norell wrote in a court filing.

“He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.”

Buck has donated more than more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic causes and served as one of California’s Electoral College members in 2016.

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