UPDATE: Federal prosecutors have just confirmed that Ed Buck, already facing state charges for allegedly running a drug den at his West Hollywood apartment, has been charged in U.S. District Court with distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death. The charge stems from the July 27, 2017, death of Gemmel Moore, 26, who overdosed in Buck’s apartment. Buck is expected to appear in federal court in downtown Los Angeles sometime Thursday afternoon. Buck was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $4 million bail on the state charges, and transferred to federal custody. Officials said the federal case would proceed prior to the state charges. The state charges against Buck carry a possible prison sentence of five years and eight months, but the federal charge could land him behind bars for a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life without parole.
Ed Buck, a prominent Democratic Party donor whose West Hollywood apartment was the scene of two fatal drug overdoses, remained jailed Wednesday on suspicion of running a drug den in his residence, where another near-fatal overdose allegedly occurred last week. Meanwhile, several Democratic political figures have spoken out in support of last night’s arrest of Buck, whose alleged abuse of young black sex workers while remaining somewhat influential in local politics has created what some see as a stain on West Hollywood’s reputation.
Buck, who is being held on $4 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, allegedly injected a man on Sept. 11 with “two dangerously large doses” of methamphetamine at the defendant’s apartment at 1234 N. Laurel Ave. He allegedly had administered a “dangerously large dose of methamphetamine” to the same man a week earlier, according to a bail memorandum filed by Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes.
Buck allegedly refused to render aid to the man, who eventually fled from the apartment and called 911 from a nearby gas station, according to the document. The 37-year-old man suffered an overdose but survived, authorities said.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has denied that his client — who allegedly was present at the location when the earlier fatal overdoses occurred — had any involvement in either death. He declined to comment on the newly filed case.
Buck, 65, was charged with one felony count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, the District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday evening after Buck’s arrest. He is scheduled to appear in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for arraignment Thursday.
If convicted as charged, Buck faces a possible prison sentence of five years and eight months, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, wrote, “It’s incomprehensible to me that it took a third man to be attacked and almost die to finally dissolve the unconscionable apathy that has allowed Ed Buck, a racist sexual predator, to roam free … Thanks to the tireless work of advocates and a community that has had enough, Los Angeles is a safer place. Now, justice must finally be served.”
Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark J. Gonzalez also spoke out about Buck’s arrest: “For our community, a predator with a Jekyll and Hyde personality is now off the streets,” he said in a statement. “And it is due to the ongoing support and pressure from many activists and community groups including Black Lives Matter, Jasmyne Cannick, and more.”
Cannick, a political consultant who has served as a spokeswoman for Moore’s mother, has long pushed for Buck’s arrest and prosecution. On Thursday, after Buck’s arrest on federal charges, Cannick said she is “incredibly grateful and thankful that something is finally being done” about Buck. She said that with Bucks’ arrest, “the life expectancy of black gay men in Los Angeles County just increased substantially.”
The allegations against Buck got nationwide coverage after it was reported that he had donated roughly $116,000 to Democratic causes and candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They also attracted particular attention from right-wing media here and abroad, including publications such as the Drudge Report; TruNews, a Christian news site; Political VelCraft, a right-wing conspiracy site, and Voat.com, a website that promotes conspiracy theories such as PizzaGate. Stories on those sites called out Buck’s financial support for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, his homosexuality, his alleged attraction to young African-American men, and his alleged drug use. While he was identified as a leading donor to Clinton’s campaign, records show that donation totaled only $2,750.
Buck has been a more prominent donor to state and local Democratic candidates and officeholders, including all of the current members of the West Hollywood City Council except for Lindsey Horvath. It was Horvath who had pushed for an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office after the July 2017 drug overdose death of Gemmell Moore and again after the January 2019 drug overdose death of Timothy Dean in Buck’s apartment. The District Attorney’s Office had declined to prosecute Buck after Moore’s death, claiming it couldn’t find sufficient evidence to win a conviction.
The local politician who got Buck’s biggest support was Mayor John D’Amico. Buck, with his “Fur Free West Hollywood” campaign, was instrumental in getting D’Amico elected to his first term on the Council in 2011. Soon after taking office, D’Amico successfully pushed through a ban on the sale of fur items at retail stores in West Hollywood. He and the other recipients of donations from Buck have declined demands from black activists that they return that money by donating to Justice4Gemmel + All Ed Buck’s Victims, a fund created to support the campaign to have Buck prosecuted.
On Tuesday, D’Amico posted a statement about Buck’s arrest on his Facebook page: “If proven, these charges appear to confirm what many of us suspected for some time, that Mr. Buck was recklessly harming members of the community, as recently as this month, and finally the District Attorney is taking action to stop this from happening again.”
Horvath also commented on the arrest on Facebook: “The families of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean – along with members of the West Hollywood community – worked tirelessly to see this day come. Because people kept memories of Gemmel and Timothy from fading away as mere accidents, the investigation into the circumstances of their tragic deaths continued. I support the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in doing whatever it takes to bring closure and peace to all of the friends and families whose loved ones were victimized. 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.”
Councilmembers John Duran, John Heilman, and Lauren Meister have issued no public statements. While he has not publicly defended Buck, Duran was criticized by black activists when he warned young black sex workers that they shouldn’t speak with law enforcement officers about their encounters with Buck, saying they could be liable for arrest for admitting sex work or drug use. Under pressure from Horvath and Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department agreed to grant witnesses immunity for admitting those illegal actions.
Is this monster REALLY a MEGA donor?
how does a guy….in a run down apt afford to make any donations?????? don’t get it.
not just any donations, according to the LA times over $500,000 dollars over the years, and $30k in the 2016 and 2018 cycles alone – from a guy who sold a business for a $1 million dollar profit back in the 80’s and hasn’t worked a day since. This makes no sense whatsoever. There is much more to this story. As they say follow the money…
Donor of Death, Ed Buck had scores of victims. It’s truly disturbing to read how many Politicos curried his favor.
Until the death of his first “reported” victim, Gemmel Moore, Buck was on the Steering Committee of the Stonewall Democrats.
Sadly, He was John D’Amico’s staunchest supporters in his first election bid for City Council. After D’Amico won, he rewarded Buck with the “fur ban” which Buck lobbied vigorously for.
So in addition to his myriad other scandals and disgraceful abuses of power, john duran issued not so veiled threats to attempt to silence witnesses who would have otherwise provided law enforcement with vital information that could have resulted in his close friend buck’s arrest before any more people had to die. No surprise really, duran is a cancer on this city. Thankfully we have an election coming up and can finally kick him into the gutter where he belongs.
It’s annoying that so many print & electronic media all start their stories with “Democratic donor Ed Buck….”. So what’s so important about that in a story as bizarre as this one? Not at all. I don’t know how long it’s been since Buck made any donations to Democrats, but I think it’s been years. Besides his $116,000 in political donations in 10 years isn’t all that much.
That may be the way people remember his name (ah! THAT Ed Buck).
I agree with you Woody. It’s been irritating from the beginning when I first learned of Mr. Moore’s death under a huge selfie of Ed Buck and Hillary Clinton, thrusting her into this mess after such a difficult election loss and creating an unnecessary distraction while his family and friends’ searched for answers in Mr. Moore’s death. I was both angered and saddened this morning when, after viewing the link to the press conference provided below by Brian Taggert, reading the comments by youtube viewers….not a single one I read focused on the losses of Mr. Moore or Mr. Dean… Read more »
With District Attorney refusing to prosecute Buck twice although there was scores of evidence in Bucks apartment validates my belief one can buy their freedom via political donations , BRIBES. It’s time we stop this blatant abuse of power. If those in the political arena wish to continue this vile practice then those monies should be taxed as income. Why not, there has never been a tax the Democrats have ever opposed.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster appears to have been the attorney for the convicted “Grim Sleeper”. It is also possible that with Federal charges there will be no possibility of bail. The bail in State court of $4million seems contingent upon its source, specifically not from any drug trade. Big question remains as to the source of the revenue stream for contributions including his Range Rover while living in a RS apartment. Could the IRS peek into this as well?
i believe he made his money in software, selling his company for a large sum many years ago. Living in a RS apartment was smart then and is still smart.
So much for Ed Buck’s local D.A. charges, the major Democrat donor is now facing major drug charges in Federal Court. Scheduled to appear this afternoon. More great PR for West Hollywood where the City Council is still silent on the biggest elephant in the WEHO room. They are still silent on the other elephant in the room. The two convicted felons who were appointed to commissions by John Duran. No public statement from the WEHO City Council on should West Hollywood have everyone vetted that serves on a commission.
OK,It was announced this morning around 10:30 AM that Mr. Buck will be prosecuted by federal authorities on the drug charges,not local authorities.This will take the case out of the hands of local authorities who can’t seem to get a handle on this fellow.The Democratic politicians can talk all they want about being happy about Mr. Buck’s arrest,but with Buck’s influence under suspicion,but I rather go with a team that has no connection to this guy.
We know Ed Buck’s behavior is inexcusable but “racist sexual predator”, Karen Bass? Sorry, but you lose me with the race card. Now it’s racist if you prefer someone of a particular race (just like people prefer someone who is trans, older, younger, etc.). Well, then you’ll need to close down every hook up app that exists in the world where people have their preferences, for whatever the reason. And if you want to begin to end racism, start by not asking for one’s race on the Census, apps, govt applications, etc. Focus on the crime, not the race. This… Read more »
You honestly think the fact that Buck exclusively victimized black men is immaterial to this case? Those men were all targets of violence, Buck injected them with deadly amounts of meth and denied them Medical aid as they OD’d, of course his motives were racist. Luckily, the 3rd man who would have died was able to escape and seek medical attention in time. Karen Bass is not “pulling the race card,” and frankly that accusation is very disingenuous. That phrase is almost exclusively used to try to silence people of color, and is pretty distasteful. Ms. Bass was accurate in… Read more »
Are white guys who only date other white guys racist? Are black guys who only date black guys racist? Are white women who only date black men racist? Are straight men who only hook up with trans “racist”? Race has less to do with it. The drugs and disrespect of human life does, regardless of what race was his and his victims sexual preference. Both the Left and Right make everything about race to fuel divisions, it dilutes the argument. It makes everyone look like a “racist”. Focus on the illegal drug use, the neglect when the persons’ needed medical… Read more »
“Are white gays that only date other white guys racist?”
I think the issue here is that you have a white man who is pursuing black men with the INTENT TO CAUSE HARM to them. The black men who might be pursuing him are doing so for drugs, not to harm him, which makes them “addicts” not “racists”.
The issue is not one of “preference” in an innocent benevolent way of one’s preferred dating type; ie tall vs. short, thin vs. heavy, white vs. black, etc. The issue is one of singling out a particular racial and economic demographic to inflict great bodily harm and perhaps even death for one’s own amusement. This is why the whole case crosses over from mere P&P gone wrong into extremely dark and frankly downright evil territory.
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles was the first politician to return Ed Buck’s donation. A great lady. As for the West Hollywood City Council, none of them have returned a nickel.
I think John Damico stated that he directed those donations to worthy causes and it makes no sense to send money back to Ed Buck to be used to buy drugs to use on somebody else.
It is my opinion that each of the City Council Members make a public apology for taking the Buck money and for not being more active in the investigation. If not, they should resign. If our City Leaders cannot admit their mistakes, they are unfit to serve our Community. Two people are dead, The City Council is indifferent about those deaths with the exception of Ms. Horvath. For our Mayor to take dirty money, use it for his Campaign (to further his own political future) and then say he gave money to worthy causes in exchange for two dead people… Read more »
Sour grapes, Eric. D’Amico has spoken out against this, agreed to re-direct his donation to other worthy causes (as previously stated), attended rallies against Buck. And he didn’t need to do any of that. Just because he received donations from this slimeball did not mean that he knew this was going on. Does every politician who receives any kind of donation, no matter how large or small, have the time and resources to do due diligence? And if something happens *after* a donation takes place, he or she is supposed to have a committee of people who do such a… Read more »
Laurel Avenue had activity last night – close to and after 10pm near the property in question. I did not see protesters, but a news truck (ch5) and cars with blinking lights on.