Indictment: ‘Party and play’ sex and drug use turned deadly in case of California Democratic donor
LOS ANGELES — Wealthy California political donor Ed Buck was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury for two overdose deaths in his West Hollywood apartment and charged with providing methamphetamine to three other men, one of whom survived two overdoses.
The indictment returned in U.S. District Court charged Buck with distributing meth resulting in the deaths of Timothy Dean in January and Gemmel Moore in 2017. Buck had previously been charged in Moore’s death after his arrest last month.
Buck, 65, who is white and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes, preyed on vulnerable men, most of them black, some of them homeless and addicted to drugs, and pressured them to take drugs or let him inject them with narcotics as part of sexual activity known as “party and play,” prosecutors said.
A defense lawyer has previously said Buck denies a role in both deaths. Lawyers for Buck, who is being held without bail, did not immediately return emails seeking comment on the indictment.
The five-count indictment includes a charge in Dean’s death and adds charges that Buck provided meth to three other men.
Details of those encounters were included in an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint last month in federal court.
In one encounter, an escort who said he was paid $300 for his services in December, told detectives that Buck gave him a drink and he lost control of his body and passed out, according to court documents. When he regained consciousness, Buck was approaching him with two syringes loaded with meth and he made an excuse to leave the apartment.
In a second incident that month, the same escort said Buck gave him what he said was meth, but the man thought it was actually a tranquilizer because he was immobilized on the floor for more than six hours. Buck told the man to leave, but he couldn’t move.
Buck then became frustrated and threatened him with a buzzing power saw, the man said, according to the affidavit. A surge of adrenalin helped him get to his feet, retreat to the kitchen and he eventually left.
Another man said he met Buck in June on Adam4Adam, a gay dating and escort site, while he was living in a hotel on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
The man ended up living with Buck for part of the summer and said Buck injected him with meth on nearly a daily basis for five weeks, according to the affidavit.
He said he overdosed Sept. 4 and 11 when Buck injected him each time with two syringes of meth. On the final time, he said Buck also gave him GHB, the powerful sedative often referred to as a date-rape drug. He again felt he was overdosing and asked Buck to call an ambulance.
When Buck refused, the man left the apartment and went to a nearby gas station, where someone called an ambulance that took him to the hospital.
That final encounter led to Buck’s arrest _ more than two years after activists began staging rallies outside his rent-controlled apartment and pressuring the local district attorney to bring charges in the July 27, 2017 death of Moore, 26.
Jasmyne Cannick, a communications strategist who led the effort to seek justice for Moore, said the indictment was a long time in coming and that learning it had been handed down was an “incredible feeling.”