WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Prominent Democratic donor and LGBTQ+ political activist Ed Buck was charged Tuesday with running a drug den out of his West Hollywood apartment and providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who suffered an overdose last week, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said.
Buck, 65, was charged with one felony count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.
According to the DA’s office, Buck was accused with injecting the victim with methamphetamine at the defendant’s apartment in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood. The man survived.
The charges come after two other men died of drug overdoses at Buck’s residence dating back to 2017, prompting community outrage and calls for his arrest.
“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”
Prosecutors recommended bail set at $4 million in a motion that called Buck a “violent, dangerous sexual predator,” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”
The motion went on to say that Buck used the bait of “narcotics, money, and shelter” to lure victims to his home where, “in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes.”
Moore died in Buck’s home in July of 2017. The coroner’s office said drug paraphernalia was found at the scene and ruled the death an accidental methamphetamine overdose.
Then, on Jan. 7, 2019, a second man, 55-year-old Timothy Dean of West Hollywood, was also found dead at Buck’s home. His death was also ruled an accidental meth overdose.
“The defendant’s predatory acts and conscious disregard for human life must be stopped,” the motion said.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday. Buck’s attorney said he would fight the charges against his client “vigorously.”
An attorney who said he talked with family members of Moore and Dean said the family members were relieved and grateful that Buck was behind bars.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s taken a third overdose for the (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) to finally act,” Hussain Turk, the attorney for Moore’s family said. “We believe that the third overdose could have been avoided. We believe that the death of Timothy Dean could have also been avoided had they taken the death of Gemmel Moore seriously.”
If convicted as charged, Buck would face a possible maximum sentence of five years and eight months in state prison.
Buck remained in jail Tuesday night, and the case is still under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.