Prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck charged with running drug house tied to fatal overdoses

Last night, police arrested Democratic donor Ed Buck on charges of running a drug house in his West Hollywood apartment and providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who overdosed there last week.

The news came as a relief to those who have called for Buck’s arrest based on two fatal overdoses in his apartment in recent years.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a release that Buck is charged with three felonies: a battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, and maintaining a drug house. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and eight months in prison.

In a motion calling for setting bail of $4 million, prosecutors called him a “violent, dangerous sexual predator” who “mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”

Prosecutors accuse Buck of luring young Black men—many destitute and suffering from addiction—to his home with promises of shelter, drugs, and money in exchange for taking part in his sexual fantasies, which include injecting them with dangerous quantities of drugs.

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, denies the charges against his client, telling CBS Los Angeles that Buck’s longtime friends’ life decisions were to blame, and promising Buck would “vigorously” defend himself.

“This is not a situation where Mr. Buck has caused a death,” Amster said.

Buck, an LGBTQ activist, has donated heavily to Democrats including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Many were grateful for what they saw as a chance for some measure of justice for the alleged victims. Prosecutors’ failure to bring charges following the prior deaths had led many to decry what they saw as a racial issue.

(All three men who overdosed in Buck’s apartment are Black; Buck is white.)

Both Buck and the prosecutor’s office are being sued by the family of alleged victim Gemmel Moore, who died in Buck’s apartment in 2017. Last week, a judge refused to dismiss the case.

Buck’s arraignment on the criminal charges is scheduled for today.

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Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.