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Ed Buck Found Guilty In West Hollywood Overdose Deaths

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Former political donor Ed Buck was convicted Tuesday of a series of federal charges, including providing methamphetamine to two men who died in his West Hollywood apartment.

The 66-year-old was convicted of all nine counts he was facing. Jurors deliberated for just four and a half hours before reaching a verdict.

Prominent Democratic Party Donor Ed Buck
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 Ed Buck appears in Los Angeles Superior Court for arraignment September 19, 2019 arrested and charged with operating a drug house, with prosecutors calling him a violent sexual predator who preys on men struggling with addiction and homelessness. The prominent Democratic donor and LGBTQ political activist will also face federal drug charges over deaths at his West Hollywood home. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Buck was convicted of two counts of distributing methamphetamine that resulted in the deaths of 55-year-old Timothy Dean in January of 2019, and 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in July 2017.

Each of the two charges of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death carry 20-year mandatory minimums.

He also faced state charges of running a drug den, but the federal case proceeded first.

Following the verdict, attorneys and families of the victims held a news conference outside of the courthouse.

Timothy Dean's sister said she was "over-the-moon excited," about the verdict. His other sister, Joyce Jackson, said it was a bittersweet day.

"Finally, Ed Buck will never harm anyone else, and I thank God for that," Jackson said. "And as I leave L.A., going back home, I thank everybody that has helped keep us strong throughout the three weeks that we've been here."

Dane Brown, a surviving victim of Buck's, said, "Walking out of that house, I didn't know what was going to happen next, and I didn't know all of this was going to happen but I'm so happy and so relieved that these families can get the justice that they deserve because they're the ones who suffered pain more than I did."

"I made it out alive, but they're suffering because they had to lose someone in order for this to happen," Brown said.

Gemmel Moore's mother said, "Thank you to everybody that believed us." She also mentioned Tuesday marked the four-year anniversary of the day her son died.

Prosecutors allege Buck had a "fetish" for paying Black men to allow him to inject them with methamphetamine, even while they were passed out. Buck lured vulnerable, homeless gay men, who were addicted to drugs or working as escorts, to his Laurel Avenue apartment, where he provided drugs in exchange for sexual activity, a trial memorandum alleges.

One of the prosecutors, Chelsea Norrell, had tears in her eyes as she spoke outside of the courthouse.

"It was a tremendous honor to be able to vindicate the rights of the victims in this case and Lindsey and I are absolutely thrilled that justice was served today in a sweeping guilty verdict," she said.

The deaths of Dean and Moore prompted community outrage.

Buck was first arrested in September of 2019 on separate charges brought by the L.A. County District Attorney's Office of injecting a 37-year-old man with a large dose of meth, as well as running a drug house out of his condo.

At the time, then L.A. County DA Jackie Lacey explained that local authorities determined that there was not enough evidence under state law to charge Buck in the deaths of Dean and Moore. However, under federal law, they had more legal options. He was indicted in October of 2019 by a federal grand jury in the deaths of Dean and Moore.

Buck was also charged with knowingly enticing Moore to travel to L.A. to engage in prostitution, and providing him with crystal methamphetamine before he overdosed on the drug and died.

Buck faced a second count of enticing a different man to travel with the intent of engaging in prostitution, one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine, and one count of using his West Hollywood apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics such as methamphetamine, and the sedatives gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam.

At the apartment, Buck "prepared methamphetamine syringes in a ritualistic fashion; some victims report that he required them to watch him do it," the memo alleges.

The memo describes "party and play" sessions in which Buck allegedly paid men he sometimes solicited from online gay male dating and escort sites to use drugs he provided, and perform sexual acts.

Buck was represented by Christopher Darden, best known for being part of the prosecution team in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.

It was not immediately known when Buck would be sentenced.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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