LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted wealthy California political donor Ed Buck in two overdose deaths at his West Hollywood apartment.
The indictment returned Wednesday in U.S. District Court charges Buck with distributing methamphetamine resulting in the deaths of Timothy Dean in January and Gemmel Moore in 2017.
Federal prosecutors say Buck preyed on vulnerable black gay men — some of them homeless — and pressured them to let him inject them with drugs as part of a sexual ritual.
Buck is also charged with providing meth to three more men, including one who overdosed.
CBS2/KCAL9 ‘s David Goldstein reported that one of the men who overdosed reportedly lived with Buck for several weeks and nearly overdosed on another occasion.
Last month, officials said there could be at least ten potential victims.
Family members of the victims had criticized local prosecutors for not charging Buck in the deaths.
The mother of at least one of the victims filed a wrongful death suit against Buck.
Federal prosecutors took over the case after detectives approached a task force investigating overdoses.
A defense lawyer has said Buck denies a role in the deaths.
Gemmel Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, posted her response to the federal indictment in a video on Twitter.
— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) October 3, 2019
Joann Campbell, Timothy Dean’s sister, issued a statement that read in part:
“My family is overjoyed with the news today. We all are crying, but with joy. A special thank you to Jasmyne and her team. Thank you for fighting for Tim and being our eyes and ears always. Special thanks to Detective Rodriguez for his continued fight and hard work on this case. We know it was difficult dealing with us pressing you the detectives to work harder. We appreciate their hard work. And to Ed Buck, you will never hurt and cause harm to another family. We are truly grateful.”
Cannick is a well-known on-air and print commentator who often discusses a variety of topics — from pop culture to mass media to true crime. She’s taken a particular interest in the Ed Buck case vowing to seek justice for victim’s families.
On Wednesday, she also issued a statement after hearing the news about the federal indictment.
“Finally! It’s been two-plus long years of fighting for justice for my community–the Black LGBTQ community. It’s been two years of hearing we would never see this day. This is a collective win for all black people. Our lives matter — even those lives who are the most vulnerable among us. Even the lives of survival sex workers, the homeless and those on drugs. Let this be a warning to all of the other Ed Buck’s creeping around West Hollywood, Los Angeles County and throughout America –w e’re coming for you, too.”
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