Defense attorneys filed papers to have Ed Buck’s convictions for providing the drugs that killed two men in his West Hollywood apartment overturned, arguing that the government “kink-shamed” the defendant by pointing the jury toward his sexual fetishes in an effort to obscure the lack of proof supporting the charges, according to documents obtained Friday by City News Service.
An attorney for Buck wrote that the two men, Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, suffered multiple underlying medical conditions that caused their deaths, not the methamphetamine they ingested.
Buck was convicted not on the prosecution’s drug distribution evidence, but on “extremely prejudicial and irrelevant character evidence, which included a concerted effort to kink-shame Mr. Buck by presenting graphic images and videos of his sexual fetishes,” defense attorney Mark J. Werksman wrote in papers filed Thursday.
The impact was “so damaging that on day four of the nine-day trial, it prompted the Court to suggest that as a result of the `ongoing psychological impact’ this evidence may have on the jury,” counseling may be offered at the conclusion of the case, according to Werksman.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment.
After just 4 1/2 hours of deliberations on July 27, 2021 — the four- year anniversary of Moore’s death — a federal jury in downtown Los Angeles found Buck guilty of the nine felony counts he faced.
The prosecution presented evidence that Buck engaged in a pattern of “party and play,” or soliciting men to consume narcotics that he provided and perform sexual activities at his apartment. In these sessions, Buck distributed drugs, including methamphetamine, and, in some instances, injected victims with drugs intravenously in a practice known as “slamming.”
Buck solicited his victims in various ways, including using social media platforms, dating and escort websites, or via referrals from prior victims, including individuals he hired to do other work for him, offering a finder’s fee for referrals.
The men who came to Buck’s apartment were destitute, homeless or struggling with drug addiction. Evidence including photos and survivors’ testimony detailing the drugs-and-sex sessions caused some spectators to look away or leave the courtroom.
Buck, a former WeHo political player — who donated more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic causes and served in 2016 as one of California’s electoral college members — was convicted of two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death, stemming from the deaths of Moore in July 2017 and Dean in January 2019. The charge carries a 20-year mandatory minimum.
A hearing to discuss the acquittal motion is scheduled for March 28, with sentencing expected one week later. Buck faces between 20 years and life in federal prison.
Buck, now 67, was also convicted of enticing Moore and another man to travel to Los Angeles to engage in prostitution; knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine; and using his West Hollywood apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics such as methamphetamine, and the sedatives gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam.
Prosecutors alleged that Buck caused the deaths as a result of his “fetish” for injecting men with increasing doses of methamphetamine until they became comatose. The defense countered that the victims suffered from serious medical conditions that ended their lives.
Buck declined to testify in his own defense.
Over the course of the trial, federal prosecutors called more than 20 witnesses, including four men who told of smoking methamphetamine that Buck provided and then being pressured to allow the defendant to inject them with the drug.
The acquittal motion contends that the only evidence that Buck distributed methamphetamine and other drugs at his apartment was bolstered by “the testimony of a parade of financially motivated houseless individuals” and drug addicts and should not have been believed.
The defense called just one witness to the stand. Dr. Marvin Pietruszka, who runs a private autopsy service in the San Fernando Valley, testified that after analyzing photos, slides and medical reports on the bodies of Moore and Dean, he determined that both men had significant medical issues that caused their deaths. Methamphetamine, he told the jury, did not kill either one.
Other defense papers contend that the government’s own evidence showed Moore died of pulmonary edema brought on by complications of HIV/AIDS, and his health was further compromised by “chronic methamphetamine abuse.”
The second man, Dean, died 18 months later as a result of multiple health issues, including a bad heart and pulmonary edema “brought on by the ravages of methamphetamine addiction and alcoholism,” according to the attorney who represented Buck at trial. “The evidence establishes that he died of advanced heart disease combined with the effects of alcohol intoxication.”
Several doctors called by the prosecution, including a county medical examiner, testified that both men died from lethal overdoses of methamphetamine.
Just your typical democrat doing what democrats do.
Big Question is from where does Buck have the where with all to hire Werksman, Jackson & Quinn, premier $$$$$ criminal defense attorneys? His political donations were one thing, this is quite another mystery.
Any attorney who uses *x-shamed* or *woke* in pleading papers deserves to lose.
I tried to buy the literary rights to Ed Buck’s West Hollywood story. His lawyers said he is not prepared to talk yet. I’m assuming he will be after the trial. The fact that he is not prepared to talk YET, tells me that he will be at some point. I have reason to believe, after many interviews with others he has much to say about West Hollywood “players and politicians” and who knew what and when which will be included in my book about West Hollywood.
Your comment here is all about you and adds nothing to the discussion.
Buck is a predator and a murderer. Throw away the key.
It is my considered opinion that those great minds who post these pro-Ed opinions and now turn Ed Buck ‘s prey into the villains missed out by not going to Ed’s themselves. Ed had a candy store of death in his private premises and he was enjoying the carnage he caused. Do you think Ed began his friendly invitation with “come on up and hang out and die”? I think he left out the “and die part”. And how did Ed obtain his stash of illegal drugs and from whom and why doesn’t that fall into the mix. Th person… Read more »
These guys got what happens to drug addicts. They die. Not Ed bucks fault. The addicts fault
I’m so thankful the public and court disagree with you. Ed Buck is a dangerous predator.
True. The parade of addicts going freely and repeatedly to Ed Buck’s apartment, were not forced to go there. They were not choirboys. Ed Buck is guilty of being a creep but there are consequences for making the bad decision, repeatedly, to go to his drug den. I’m not wholly convinced he murdered them.
“there are consequences for making the bad decision, repeatedly”
Yes there are consequences of injecting meth into people repeatedly leading to their death. Ed Buck is living with those consequences.
I think you should do a reality check and find out why you don’t have any compassion. Yes, at some point these victims should have made better choices. The sad part is that this happened because they were let down by the communities they grew up in, and they were let down by the LGBTQ community. We don’t support each other like we should, and things like this don’t happen to people who have the love and support that they need.
You are the only voice of reason on this site. Lots of hysterical right wing, mean comments. I am amazed considering that the values that come across in the comments and the general world view are exactly the same as the segment of the population that would love to see all gay people wiped off the face of the earth. Ignorance and reactionary responses.
These are aren’t right or left wing. These are simply nonpartisan morons with some Sunday spare time to be sanctimonious.
Not sure how suggesting that it was ok for Ed Buck to prey on people with addiction issues is the voice of reason. Ed sought out people who would be easier to kill. Nobody who went into his apartment, but Ed, got what they deserved. Do you really believe that Matthew’s comments are balanced and supportive of the gay community? Very hostile toward people suffering from substance abuse.
Nonsense! I’m a gay man. And I found we he did to be absolutely abhorrent. And I have plenty of gay friends who agree with me. And I’m as much of a left-wing as one can get.
Nothing about this is “gay shaming.” Unbelievable that you would draw that conclusion.
“… (he) was convicted of two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death …”
These are REAL charges, based on REAL laws. He broke the law. Not to mention he preyed on desperate people who needed drugs. Some of whom would trade sexual favors, or let Buck do kinky things to them, in exchange for drugs.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he raped or molested some of his victims while they were completely passed out. Unfortunately, no evidence of that. If there was, he could have been brought up on further charges, maybe even rape.
My tribe has a little expression that has been around since the Red Sea parted.. It also inspired so many acts of bigotry for thousands of years and I still use it. “Blame the Jew”. Ed Buck was the all purpose candy store for deadly drugs. He went out and sought victims. He killed them. Jail is too nice a place for him.