Ed Buck, the prominent Democratic Party donor whose West Hollywood apartment was the scene of two fatal drug overdoses, was jailed Wednesday morning in lieu of $4 million bail after being arrested and charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office with running a drug den in his residence after a third man last week suffered a near-fatal overdose at Buck’s apartment.
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. 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.”
The DA’s office called Buck “a violent, dangerous sexual predator” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”
“Using the bait of narcotics, money and shelter, the defendant lures these vulnerable victims to his house,” according to the DA’s bail request. “From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes. These fetishes include supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims.”
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 Buck 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.
In the bail request, however, prosecutors said the defendant’s “aggressive and malevolent behavior” led to the deaths Moore and Dean.
“Not deterred by the senseless death of Moore and Dean, the defendant nearly killed a third victim last week,” the document reads. “The defendant’s predatory acts and conscious disregard for human life must be stopped.”
Buck, according to the DA’s office, administered meth injections to the latest overdose victim on Sept. 4 and again last Wednesday and the $4 million bail would deter him “from his predatory behavior or keep him in custody to prevent yet another senseless death.”
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.