Ed Buck is asking that he be released from custody while he awaits trial, which is scheduled for January 2021.
Buck, 65, argues that because of his age (he is 65) he faces serious health risks if he were to become infected with COVID-19 while in federal prison. The request, filed by his defense attorneys last week, also says that Buck suffers from gum disease and needs specialized cardiac care.
In their motion requesting his release, Buck’s attorney’s, Christopher Darden and Ludlow Creary, II, cited Buck’s long ties with West Hollywood in arguing that he would not flee if released. They also said that Buck would sign a $400,000 appearance bond, surrender his passport, and agree to electronic monitoring.
The lawyers filed the request for Buck’s release last week. It was first reported by NBC 4.
Federal prosecutors have argued that Buck should be kept in custody, citing the risk of flight and his potential danger to the community.
Buck, a white gay man known for his contributions to the local, state and federal election campaigns of Democratic Party candidates in West Hollywood, was arrested by LA County Sheriff’s Department deputies on Sept. 17, 2019, and handed over to federal authorities. They charged him with distributing methamphetamine resulting in the deaths of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, in July, 2017, and Timothy Dean, 55, who died in Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment in West Hollywood in January, 2019. Both were Black men, as are the others Buck has been alleged to have paid to engage in sex using methamphetamine.
Buck also has been charged with three counts of distributing meth to three other men between 2018 and 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted he could face a sentence of between 20 years and life in prison.
Buck was represented by a public defender in his initial indictment hearing. He then engaged Darden and Creary, both prominent private attorneys, which has raised questions about his financial situation. While he has been described in some news media a wealthy political donor, he lived a modest two-bedroom apartment on Laurel Avenue that now is up for rent.
In its report, NBC 4 noted that the judge in Buck’s Sept. 26 detention hearing had asked Buck’s federal public defender if Los Angeles County had returned $4-million that Buck posted for bail on the original state charges. “No answer was provided in court, and a spokesperson for LA Superior Court said it was not clear from court records if Buck had tried to post bail before he was charged in federal court,” NBC 4 reported.