Update (August 7, 2020): New charges were brought against Democratic political donor Ed Buck Tuesday after a California grand jury nailed him on several felony counts. Buck was originally being held on charges related to operating a drug house and supplying narcotics to a man who overdosed at his home, The New York Times reported.
According to court filings, Buck is facing four felony indictments that include a charge for pressuring victims to travel domestically and do sex work for him. He is facing five additional counts, one of which alleges he recruited 26-year-old Gemmel Moore to perform sex work for him, Them reports.
As Blavity previously reported, it was alleged that Moore was given methamphetamine by Buck after he died of an overdose in Buck’s home in July 2017. Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, filed a lawsuit in February 2019 after she said law enforcement officials were slow to charge Buck with the death of her son.
In October, Buck pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the Los Angeles Times. Federal investigators have nicknamed him “Doctor Kevorkian” after accusing him of exploiting at least 10 Black gay men, many of whom were experiencing homelessness, reports USA Today.
Original (September 18, 2019): Charges have been filed against Ed Buck, prominent Democratic activist and philanthropist, after two men overdosed on illegal drugs and died inside his West Hollywood apartment.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges against Buck on Tuesday evening. The political activist was charged with operating a drug house and providing methamphetamine to an unidentified third man who survived an overdose in Buck’s home last Wednesday.
NBC 4 Los Angeles reports that prosecutors filed a motion to increase Buck’s bail given his “malicious” and “beyond reckless” behavior.
“In addition to these three incidents, Defendant Buck has engaged in and continues to engage in the exact same behavior, namely preying on vulnerable men and injecting them with dangerously large doses of methamphetamine," prosecutors wrote in court documents. "The full scope of his consistent malicious behavior is unknown."
Court documents also include extensive details of the allegations around the third man’s overdose in Buck’s home earlier this month that led to the charges:
“On or about September 4, 2019, Buck personally and deliberately administered a dangerously large dose of methamphetamine to Joe Doe. Concerned he was suffering from a methamphetamine overdose, Doe left the apartment to get medical attention," the document read.
"Joe Doe returned to Buck's apartment on September 11, 2019. On that date, shockingly, Buck again personally and intentionally injected two dangerously large doses of methamphetamine into Doe," it continued. "Doe again developed the symptoms of methamphetamine overdose. Buck refused to render aid to Doe, but rather thwarted Doe's attempts to get help. Doe eventually fled the apartment and called 911 from a nearby gas station.”
Buck’s defense team adamantly claim that the noted donor had nothing to do with the deaths of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in July 2017 and 55-year-old Timothy Dean in January 2019 in his home.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, filed a lawsuit in February after she said authorities dragged their feet on charging Buck with the death of her son.
“I just think they don’t care,” she said of investigators and prosecutors who worked on her son’s case.
According to NBC 4, a federal judge considered dismissing the case unless Nixon’s attorneys clarified and resubmitted allegations against the defendants. The updating filing alleges wrongful death, human trafficking, sexual battery, hate violence, drug dealer liability, negligence, infliction of emotional distress and civil rights violations.
After Moore’s death was classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose, Nixon and activists called for the LA County Sheriff’s Department to re-examine the case. Dean died in Buck's home in similar circumstances to Moore. Buck claims that the 55-year-old was already under the influence before coming to his home. Dean's death is still under investigation, and the findings from the coroner will be kept confidential at the request of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, NBC4 reports.
“They are extremely grateful and relieved that Mr. Buck is finally off the streets, or out of his drug home,” Hussein Turk, Nixon’s attorney, said in response to charges against Buck. “It’s unfortunate that it’s taken a third overdose for the LA Sheriff's Department to finally act, we believe that that third overdose could have probably been avoided.”
Nixon’s attorney said they have reason to believe that Buck received special treatment from police and prosecutors due to his political activism and donations to a list of elected officials.
Lindsey Horvath, West Hollywood mayor pro tempore, told NBC 4: “The families of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean — along with members of the West Hollywood community — worked tirelessly to see this day come. There is still a long way to go for justice to finally be served in their names, however, we hope the evidence from this arrest will finally make clear what has happened, and we hope will never happen again.”