Published:July 6, 2021
Democratic megadonor Ed Buck, who is about to stand trial in the drugging deaths of two men, lured a stream of young participants to his West Hollywood apartment where they were injected with methamphetamine and played sexual fetish games, federal prosecutors said.
One victim went to Buck’s apartment to model underwear and ingested a drink “that made him feel paralyzed and when he started to come to, he saw Buck injecting him with something,” according to a U.S. attorney’s office pretrial memo filed on Friday. The victim met Buck through an online advertisement to “host a party,” which was understood to mean drug use and sex.
Buck, 66, has been charged with six counts of methamphetamine distribution, including two cases of death, two counts of interstate prostitution, and one count of operating a drug den. The trial starts July 13 and is expected to last eight days. The charge of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life imprisonment.
Before Buck’s arrest in 2019, he was hobnobbing with the nation’s top Democratic lawmakers while opening up his checkbook over the years for more than $500,000. Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama received donations, as did a large number of Californians, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and House members Ted Lieu, Jerry McNerney, and Adam Schiff.
But in his private life, Buck solicited mostly black men through a gay male dating site and even paid the airfare for two out-of-state participants. Once they stepped into his apartment, a “party and play” scenario unfolded in which the men were expected to consume large amounts of drugs and perform sex acts, the memo said.
Besides methamphetamine, the victims were also given the sedative clonazepam and the “date rape” knockout drug GHB. In many cases, Buck would inject his victims.
“Defendant exerted power and control over his victims, typically targeting vulnerable individuals who were destitute, homeless and/or struggled with drug addiction, and exploited the relative wealth and power imbalance but offering them money to use the drugs and let Buck inject them,” the memo said.
Victims were offered money to do this, and those who refused to use the required amount of drugs were threatened with less or no pay.
Gemmel Moore died in 2017 after flying in to visit Buck from Texas. Their relationship went back to 2016, when Moore called his mother “crying and screaming, and said that a rich and powerful man named Ed Buck held him against his will and shot him up with drugs and that his arms were red and swollen,” the memo said.
Buck was not arrested until after the second decedent, Timothy Dean, was found in his apartment on Jan. 7, 2019. Dean was already dead when paramedics arrived and reported seeing him wearing two pairs of white underwear and a ring secured at the base of his genitals.
Prosecutors have listed 51 potential witnesses for trial but said on a conference call Tuesday that they expect to call only 14. The witnesses include victims, detectives, criminologists, and doctors.
Buck is represented by Christopher Darden, a former prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson murder case. Darden could not be reached for comment.