LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck pleaded not guilty Thursday in Los Angeles federal court to allegations he provided drugs to two men who fatally overdosed in his West Hollywood home.
The 65-year-old Buck was arraigned Thursday on a five-count indictment that includes charges of distributing methamphetamine resulting in the deaths of Timothy Dean in January and Gemmel Moore back in July 2017.
Buck was also charged with distributing meth to three men in May 2018, December 2018 and last month. In the latest incident, the victim overdosed but survived.
According to the indictment, Buck “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment.”
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.
Buck was first arrested Sept. 17 on separate charges brought by the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office of injecting a 37-year-old man with a large dose of meth on Sept. 11, as well as running a drug house out of his condo.
Last month, L.A. County DA Jackie Lacey explained that local authorities determined that there was not enough evidence under state law to charge Buck in the the deaths of Dean and Moore. However, under federal law, they had more legal options.
In court documents, Lacey called Buck a “violent, dangerous sexual predator” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”
Once the federal case concludes, Buck will be arraigned on the local charges.
Each federal charge carries a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life without parole. Buck remains in federal custody without bond.
Buck, a well-known activist, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates through the years. Originally from Arizona, Buck reportedly made millions selling a courier company and moved to West Hollywood in the early 1990s.
Buck made headlines in September 2010 when he disrupted a campaign event for then-California Republican Party gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. He was confronted by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.