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Ed Buck Now Faces Federal Charge Of Causing Man's Death In His West Hollywood Apartment

This Sept. 2010 photo shows Ed Buck, center, interrupting a campaign event for then-gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Updated September 19

Prominent Democratic Party fundraiser and gay rights activist Ed Buck is now facing a federal charge of causing the death of a man at his West Hollywood apartment, on top of the criminal charges he's facing in L.A. County that he's been running a drug house and caused an overdose of a man there last week.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Buck with causing the death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in July 2017.

The charge followed an investigation that found at least eight other alleged victims who described in salacious detail the 65-year-old Buck's apparent fetish to pay men - some of them homeless - to use highly addictive methamphetamine and have sex, which often took a dark turn and led to several suspected overdoses.

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On some occasions, someone refused to inject drugs and Buck plunged the needle in himself, Agent John Mundell of the Drug Enforcement Administration said in an affidavit laying out the criminal complaint againt Buck.

Besides facing the federal charge of "distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death," Buck, who was arrested Tuesday night, faces three local felony counts: "battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house," according to District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office.

Buck's attorney, Seymour Amster, declined to comment on the charges when contacted by KPCC/LAist, but in the past he has said Buck did not commit any crimes.

Buck appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on the state charges Thursday and was held on $4 million bail. His arraignment was postponed until next month.

Calling Buck a "serious threat to public safety," U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said he'll try to have Buck held on the federal charge without bail.

If convicted of the federal charge, Buck faces a minimum of 20 years in prison. He could face up to five years and eight months in state prison on the local charges, D.A. officials said.

In court filings, local prosecutors called Buck "a violent, dangerous sexual predator" who targets "men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness."

Prosecutors allege that on Sept. 11, Buck injected meth into a 37-year-old man at Buck's apartment in the 1200 block of Laurel Avenue. The man suffered an overdose but survived, officials said.

After Gemmel Moore was found dead at Buck's apartment in 2017, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department opened a homicide investigation, but Moore's death was later ruled an accident by the county coroner and no charges were filed against Buck.

Moore wasn't the only one to die in Buck's apartment.

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In January of this year, 55-year-old Timothy Dean was found dead at Buck's home, also the victimof a methamphetamine overdose.

Community organizers including LaTisha Nixon, left, the mother of Gemmel Moore, carry boxes of signatures to the Hall of Justice on Feb. 27, 2019. (Emily Elena Dugdale/LAist)

African American activists had been frustrated that Lacey refused to file charges against Buck, who is white, after the first death. In February, community organizers delivered 30,000 signatures to Lacey, demanding an investigation into Buck.

Following last week's overdose, Lacey said in a statement she "authorized the filing of criminal charges" in light of this new evidence.

Lacey said she remains "deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators."

Read the federal criminal complaint against Buck below, followed by the L.A. County DA's full bail motion:


5:00 p.m. on Sept. 19: This article was updated with the information about the federal charge against Buck.

LAist/KPCC reporters Frank Stoltze and Ryan Fonseca contributed to this story.

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