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California Political Donor Sentenced To 30 Years In Sex Fetish Drug Overdoses

Ed Buck, a wealthy California Democrat, was convicted last summer for his role in the drug overdoses of two gay men he invited to his Los Angeles home for sex and drugs. 

By Dorian Geiger
Ed Buck G

A wealthy Hollywood Democratic political donor who fatally injected two men with methamphetamine in a pair of fetish killings has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. 

Ed Buck, 67, who was found guilty last summer on nine felony charges related to the pair of deadly drug overdoses of two men in 2017 and 2019, was handed the sentence by a California judge on Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors, who had recommended the judge impose a life sentence, said Buck used “human beings as playthings, destroying their lives merely to appease his own sexual gratification,” according the Guardian.

During trial, prosecutors had painted Buck as a serial predator who, between 2011 and 2019, used his wealth and political capital to exploit a number of young, gay, vulnerable and typically Black men, several of whom overdosed on a cocktail of drugs at his apartment. The 67-year-old, who had donated more than $500,000 to primarily Democratic politicians and causes in the span of nearly two decades, was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019.

Buck was convicted of injecting Gemmel Moore with a lethal dose of methamphetamine on July 27, 2017, as well as Timothy Dean, who also suffered a fatal overdose on Jan. 7, 2019.

“Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the wealth and power imbalances between himself and his victims, who were unhoused, destitute, and/or struggling with addiction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Norell said in a sentencing memorandum obtained by Oxgyen.com. “He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.”

Moore was found dead and partially naked in the political donor’s home in July 2017 after Buck had flown Moore from Texas to Los Angeles for the purposes for sexual activity in exchange for money and drugs, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.  

Buck, who prosecutors say ran a drug house, had solicited Moore for sex for months before his death, giving him methamphetamines every day for a roughly one-month period between July and September 2019, charging documents stated. Prosecutors described Buck’s disturbing pattern of behavior as a “party-and-play fetish.”

“All I can think about is how my son died naked on a mattress with no love around him,” Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon, wrote in a victim impact statement obtained by Oxygen.com. “No one to hold his hand or tell him good things. Ed Buck needs to spend the rest of his years in prison."

"It was not an accident," she added. "If it was, Mr. Timothy Dean would still be here. My heart goes out to his loved ones and the other victims who have suffered at this man’s hands.” 

Buck was ultimately arrested in 2019 after Dane Brown, a third victim, also suffered a narcotics-related overdose in Buck's dwelling. Brown, a homeless man who met the donor on a gay dating site, was living with Buck — who injected him with meth multiple times a day. Brown ultimately survived his overdose.

“Buck’s lack of remorse is aptly captured in one image: As he was hiding out in a hotel, evading arrest for Gemmel Moore’s death, he was injecting Dane Brown, another young Black man, with back-to-back slams of methamphetamine," Norell said.

Prosecutors say Buck also used gamma hydroxybutyric acid and the date rape drug clonazepam to further sedate his victims.

Buck’s defense attorney Mark J. Werksman, blasted the state's evidence, adding his client intends to appeal the sentence.

"Ed Buck should not have been sentenced to life in prison because he never should have been convicted based on the evidence presented at trial," Werksman told Oxygen.com.

A restitution hearing is now scheduled for May 16.

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