After four hours of deliberation, a jury found West Hollywood political donor Ed Buck guilty of all the charges against him relating to the overdose deaths of Gemmel Moore in July 2017 and Timothy Dean in January 2019. The verdict came down on what happens to be the four-year anniversary of Moore’s death; he was just 26.
A nine-count indictment accused Buck, 66, of supplying the methamphetamine that killed two men, as well as maintaining a drug den, distributing meth, and enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution.
Prosecutors accused Buck of having a “fetish” for injecting men with drugs until they passed out, and over the course of the trial, which began on July 13 after several postponements, jurors were shown an array of disturbing videos to prove the point. As The Advocate reported, “Some of the clips displayed Buck and/or his victims smoking meth from a pipe with rubber tubing while wearing a black leather hood mask or Blackface masks; other videos showed Buck directing the men on how he wanted them to smoke meth.” Both Moore and Dean were Black men, and videos showed Buck using the N word and other racist terms.
“One particularly disturbing video—and they were all disturbing—Gemmel Moore is unconscious and Ed Buck is playing with his penis,” victim advocate and Los Angeles contributor Jasmyne Cannick, who attended the trial, wrote in a post on her blog. “Buck is seen grabbing, twisting, and posing Gemmel’s penis for the camera.”
Among the 20 witnesses brought by the prosecution were four men who reported they’d smoked meth with Buck and were pressured to let him shoot them up with the drug. One of the men said passed out after being given several injections, but was able to drag himself out of the apartment and call for help from a nearby gas station.
The defense, which included former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden, attempted to argue that the men in question were at Buck’s apartment of their own free will, and that Moore and Dean died from other medical conditions, not methamphetamine overdose.
Former L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey had declined to press charges against Buck, claiming drug and video evidence gathered from his apartment by L.A County Sheriff’s deputies in 2017 constituted “inadmissible search and seizure.” Earlier this year, after federal prosecutors built a case against Buck, a judge decided that the deputies had acted properly.
According to the L.A. Times, the two convictions for supplying the drugs carry a minimum of 20 years each, which means Buck could easily spend the rest of his life in prison.
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