Former Democratic political megadonor Ed Buck was convicted Tuesday in connection with the deaths of two men in his West Hollywood, California, apartment.
Buck was found guilty on nine felony counts in the deaths of Gemmel Moore in July 2017 and Timothy Dean in January 2019, according to KTTV-TV.
Each of the two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death upon which he was convicted has a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Buck was a major Democratic political donor who supported candidates including former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California and current California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
According to the Los Angeles Times, his political donations totaled more than $500,000.
But there was a darker side. During Buck’s trial, Sgt. Paul Cardella of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said about 1,500 videos were found in Buck’s apartment in which homeless men would be injected with methamphetamine as part of what witnesses in the trail called “party and play” sessions.
New: Ed Buck, a longtime fixture of West Hollywood politics, was convicted Tuesday of charges that he supplied the methamphetamine that killed two men during “party-and-play” encounters at his apartment.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 27, 2021
According to the prosecution, Buck injected Moore and Dean with meth until they died.
Buck “would find desolate, vulnerable victims and push meth on them over and over … until they went unconscious,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Bailey said in her closing argument.
“That’s what he liked about it — the power gave him sexual gratification. … Every time he stuck a needle in someone’s arm, he was playing God. And he never stopped — not even after two men died,” she said.
One of Buck’s attorneys said the men who died had underlying medical conditions and that while Buck’s actions may have been a bit depraved, they were not criminal.
“This is a subculture, a lifestyle that may be shocking to some of us,” Ludlow Creary II said, according to KTTV. “Everyone involved was there voluntarily.”
Buck did not take the stand in his own defense. The only witness called by the defense said the men died of other causes than overdoses of meth.
Lieu said that he would donate the roughly $18,000 he received from Buck to various LGBT causes, according to The Washington Post.
Finally SOMEONE IS GOING TO JAIL.
Hillary Clinton, Ted Lieu, Pete Aguilar, Adam B. Schiff are going to be so so sad…no more campaign money from Ed. ?
Ed Buck found guilty on all counts for giving meth to 2 men who died in his WeHo apartment
— Denise (@Likeshesays) July 28, 2021
Gay mega donor to Democrats, Ed Buck, has been convicted for giving meth to black male prostitutes who overdosed and died at his West Hollywood home. https://t.co/jB1JlAd9QD
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 28, 2021
At the time of Buck’s 2019 indictment, neither Clinton nor Obama made a comment about whether they would give the money Buck gave them to other causes, according to Fox News.
“Today is bittersweet,” LaTisha Nixon, Moore’s mother, said after Buck’s verdict was announced, according to The Associated Press. “We got victory today.”
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