The previously delayed criminal trial of Ed Buck on federal charges relating to the methamphetamine-overdose deaths of two Black men, on separate occasions, at his former residence in West Hollywood has been rescheduled from next week to April 20.
A source close to the case says that another postponement is almost certain to follow, if for no other reason than the logistics involved in pooling a jury, a process presumably complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Relatives of Buck’s alleged victims and prominent Black Lives Matter activists have expressed their desire to see swift justice in the case. However, L.A.-based journalist and prominent BLM advocate Jasmyne Cannick (a Los Angeles contributor) was deferential to the current need to hunker down in the face of a raging COVID-19 crisis by delaying jury trials.
Cannick, inarguably the person most singularly responsible for pressuring authorities to arrest and prosecute Buck more than two years after the death of his first alleged victim, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, remains laser focused on the case.
“We are looking forward to 2021 being the year that the victims of Ed Buck get some semblance of justice with his conviction for his crimes,” she said in a January 7 blog post marking the two-year anniversary of the death of Buck’s second alleged victim, Timothy Dean, 55.
Confirming to Los Angeles that Buck’s trial has been delayed until spring, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California declined to say whether or not further delays were likely.
“April 20 is the trial date,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said via email. “Mr. Buck is in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. We have no further comment.”
Buck, formerly a noted philanthropist, animal-rights advocate, and Democratic campaign donor, is charged with nine counts in his federal criminal case. Charges range from enticement of prostitution across state lines to felonies such as distributing methamphetamine resulting in death.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section is handling the case, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chelsea C. Norell and Lindsay Bailey prosecuting.
Buck’s defense attorney, former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden, has not yet responded for comment regarding the postponement of his client’s jury trial.
Thom Senzee is a Southern California-based freelance journalist and founder-moderator of Qs in the News (formerly LGBTs in the News).
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