Ed Buck, the prominent Democratic Party donor whose West Hollywood apartment was the scene of two fatal drug overdoses, was charged Tuesday by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office with running a drug den in his residence after a third man last week suffered an overdose, this one non-fatal, at his residence.
Buck is accused of injecting a 37-year-old man with methamphetamine Wednesday at the defendant’s apartment in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The man suffered an overdose but survived, authorities said.
Buck, 65, was charged with one felony count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Buck was arrested and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $4 million. If convicted as charged, Buck faces a possible prison sentence of five years and eight months, according to Greg Risling, the assistant chief of media relations for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” said District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
Buck and Lacey are being sued in federal court over the methamphetamine overdose death of a 26-year-old man.
The complaint for wrongful death was filed in Los Angeles federal court by the mother of Gemmel Moore, who died at Buck’s West Hollywood home in 2017. She alleges that the political fundraiser lured her son from Houston to Los Angeles for the purpose of engaging in “commercial” sex acts.
The civil suit accuses Buck of human trafficking and engaging in “revenge porn” by making and sharing a video of his alleged “meth-fueled sexual encounters” with Moore.
The suit was initially filed in Superior Court but moved to federal court in May. Lacey and Assistant Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum are named as co-defendants for allegedly violating Moore’s civil rights in their refusal to prosecute Buck.
Moore was the first of two men to die at Buck’s West Hollywood apartment in less than 18 months. He was found dead of a crystal methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s home on July 27, 2017. The coroner ruled the death accidental.
On Jan. 7 of this year, a second man died of methamphetamine toxicity at Buck’s home. The death of Timothy Dean, 55, of West Hollywood was also ruled accidental.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has denied that his client — who allegedly was present at the location when both men died — had any involvement in either death.
Prosecutors last summer declined to file charges against Buck regarding Moore’s death, citing insufficient evidence. As for Dean’s death, the District Attorney’s Office has said that it remains under investigation.
Buck has been a prominent donor to Democratic candidates and office holders. He has also been active in LGBTQ political circles and once ran for the West Hollywood City Council.
The lawsuit seeks damages against Buck on allegations of wrongful death, human trafficking, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, premises liability, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress and hate violence.
In addition to seeking general damages, the lawsuit also seeks an undetermined amount of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
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