A once-prominent progressive activist and Democratic Party donor was convicted this week on nine federal criminal counts.
Ed Buck faced prosecution stemming from the drug overdose deaths of two Black men in his West Hollywood, California apartment.
“Party and play”
According to the New York Post, he was convicted on all counts against him. The most serious pair of charges involved distributing methamphetamine resulting in death, each of which could result in decades behind bars.
Buck was also convicted on four counts of methamphetamine distribution, two counts of enticement to cross state lines for prostitution, and one count of maintaining a drug den in his home. The date of his sentencing has not yet been released.
Charges against Buck, 66, relate to the deaths of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in 2017 and 55-year-old Timothy Dean two years later, both of which occurred inside of his home.
As prosecutors demonstrated, the deaths were the result of a fetish known as “party and play,” which consisted of drug use and sexual activity. Victims who survived their encounters with Buck testified during the trial.
The majority of his victims were younger, gay Black men who were battling homelessness and/or addiction. He reportedly met the men through online dating or escort service websites.
“Injected victims while they were unconscious”
Prosecutors argued: “Buck’s preference was to personally inject victims, and he pressured or incentivized victims to let him do so, sometimes offering large cash bonuses to coerce a victim to agree to an injection or additional injections. Other times, Buck simply injected victims while they were unconscious.”
U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder reportedly commiserated with the jurors over the long and often heartwrenching trial, which included victim testimony and hundreds of graphic videos and photographs taken by Buck that documented his drug-fueled activities.
She previously floated the idea of offering counseling services to anyone who might need it due to the disturbing nature of the evidence and underlying crimes.
Buck nearly dodged accountability after the deaths of Moore and Dean were initially attributed to mere overdoses. When a third victim nearly died twice in one week and managed to escape, however, he shared his account — and law enforcement launched a renewed investigation.
He still faces state-level charges that were overshadowed by the federal prosecution. Given the lengthy sentences associated with the federal charges, it is likely that Buck will spend the rest of his life in prison.