LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck was federally charged in the 2017 death of Gemmel Moore, one of two men who died of drug overdoses at Buck’s West Hollywood condo.
Sources told CBS2’s David Goldstein Thursday that 65-year-old Buck would be federally charged for providing the drugs that led to Moore’s death. Buck appeared in federal court Thursday afternoon on one count of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death.
“The case against Mr. Buck alleges that he provided Gemmel Moore with a lethal dose of methamphetamine,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a news conference.
Buck “brought Mr. Moore to L.A. with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity,” and agreed to pay him with cash and drugs, Hanna said.
If convicted as charged, he faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This comes after Buck was arrested Tuesday on similar charges brought by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office accusing him of injecting a 37-year-old man with a large dose of meth on Sept. 11 a well as running a drug house out of his condo. Buck made his first appearance in an L.A. County Superior Courtroom Thursday, but his arraignment was continued until Oct. 11. He did not enter a plea. Buck is being held on $4 million bail.
The 26-year-old 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.
Their deaths prompted community outrage and calls for Buck’s arrest. However, until this week, the DA’s office refused to file any charges against Buck, alleging insufficient evidence.
In a news conference, Hanna said investigators had located 10 additional victims.
“Nine of whom said Buck administered drugs to them or strongly encouraged them to ingest narcotics as part of an agreement to be compensated for sexual services,” he said.
L.A. County DA Jackie Lacey said that local authorities determined that there was not enough evidence under state law to charge Buck in the the deaths of the two men. However, under federal law, they had more legal options.
“Under state law, however, we determined there was insufficient admissible evidence to hold Mr. Buck responsible for the deaths of Mr. Moore and Mr. Dean,” Lacey told reporters Thursday. “Ultimately, we arrived at the conclusion that there were more options under federal law that could carry a lengthier prison sentence.”
Legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Alexandra Kazarian said the federal charges mean that prosecutors are confident that they have something.
“This is also a really good way for the government to keep him in custody,” Kazarian said. “He’s not getting out now.”
Buck, county prosecutors say, injected a man earlier this month with methamphetamine at his condo in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood. The man survived. Sources told CBS2 that the man had lived with Buck for about five weeks and nearly overdosed twice on drugs.
Buck was arrested Tuesday on one count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.
In court documents, Lacey called Buck a “violent, dangerous sexual predator,” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”
Moore’s mother, Leticia Nixon, shared an emotional video on Twitter Thursday night saying she was happy.
“I knew that this day was going to come,” she said. “I’m just so grateful that my team did not give up and we kept pressing, and we kept pressing.”