Jury selection in the long-awaited trial of Ed Buck gets underway today at the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Buck faces charges stemming from the overdose deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, two Black men who died under suspicious circumstances inside Buck’s West Hollywood apartment.
There, prosecutors say, the wealthy 66-year-old, politically connected Buck operated a drug house. He allegedly lured men with cash and drugs for days-long, party-and-play, or “PnP,” sessions. That alleged pattern ultimately led to accusations that he intentionally overdosed several victims with intravenously administered crystal methamphetamine. Two of those alleged victims died a year-and-a-half apart on the same mattress placed on Buck’s living room floor.
In 2017, Gemmel Moore, 26, became the first man who lost his life at Buck’s former Laurel Avenue residence. Timothy Dean, 55, was a fashion consultant for Saks Fifth Avenue; he died at the now-notorious apartment in 2019. Both men were Black, a characteristic that was allegedly a feature of Buck’s alleged fetish for injecting dangerously large quantities of drugs into the bodies of his “PnP” guests. He met the men on gay hook-up app and dating website, Adam4Adam.
The defense argues that the men in question were at Buck’s apartment of their own free will, and that Moore and Dean didn’t die from methamphetamine.
“They’re trying to criminalize [Buck’s] dating habits, which were not any different than a thousand other gay men living within a few blocks,” said a source intimately familiar with Buck’s thoughts and feelings. The source was interviewed prior to Buck’s arrest in September 2019, and agreed to be quoted on condition of anonymity.
Activist and political strategist, Jasmyne Cannick (a Los Angeles contributor) has spent years advocating for justice for the families of Buck’s alleged victims. “It’s hard to believe that nearly four years have passed since the first Black death at Ed Buck’s home, but Buck and his white privilege are finally set to go on trial on July 13,” Cannick wrote in a column published last week.
In a 2017 interview conducted in the weeks after her son’s death, Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, said, “I don’t care what kind of problems my child, Gemmel, may have had—whether it was with drugs or whatever—he didn’t deserve to die. I can’t hug him. I can’t kiss him ever again.”
Buck is charged with—and has pleaded not guilty to—nine felonies, including two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. He is represented by former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden and attorney Ludlow B. Creary II. Opening remarks are likely to begin on Wednesday.
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