Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors will tell a jury that a noted political donor’s “fetish” for paying Black men to allow him to inject them with methamphetamine turned lethal when two men died of overdoses when the trial of Ed Buck begins July 13.
Buck is accused of luring men — particularly Black men — to his West Hollywood apartment, where he “prepared methamphetamine syringes in a ritualistic fashion; some victims report that he required them to watch him do it,” federal prosecutors said in papers filed July 2.
“Buck’s preference was to personally inject victims, and he pressured or incentivized victims to let him do so, sometimes offering large cash bonuses to coerce a victim to agree to an injection or additional injections. Other times, Buck simply injected victims while they were unconscious.”
Buck, 66, is accused in Los Angeles federal court of giving fatal doses of narcotics to two men who died in his apartment. He faces nine felony counts, plus state charges of running a drug den. The federal case will proceed first.
Buck’s attorney, Christopher Darden, best known for prosecuting O.J. Simpson, said he hasn’t read the newly filed trial memorandum and could not immediately respond.
The 34-page document describes “party and play” sessions where Buck paid Black men he sometimes solicited from online gay male dating and escort sites to use drugs he provided, and perform sexual acts.
“In these party and play sessions, [the] defendant distributed drugs, including methamphetamine, clonazepam and GHB, to his victims, and in some instances, injected them with drugs intravenously in a practice known as ‘slamming,’” prosecutors wrote.
“Defendant exerted power and control over his victims, typically targeting vulnerable individuals who were destitute, homeless, and/or struggled with drug addiction, and exploited the relative wealth and power imbalance between them by offering them money to use drugs and let Buck inject them with drugs.”
Buck was arrested in September 2019 after being charged in federal court with providing methamphetamine to a man who died after receiving the drug intravenously. Additional charges were added, including a count alleging that he enticed 26-year-old Gemmel Moore and another man to travel to the Los Angeles area to engage in prostitution.
Buck allegedly provided methamphetamine to both Moore, who overdosed on the drug in July 2017, and Timothy Dean, who died at Buck’s apartment 18 months later.
“Sadly, neither of these deaths deterred defendant from continuing to distribute methamphetamine through party and play sessions,” prosecutors contend.
Buck is also accused of knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine, and using his apartment for the purpose of distributing methamphetamine, and the sedatives gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam.
“In addition to methamphetamine injections, defendant distributed methamphetamine to be smoked and pressured victims to stay as high as possible,” the document alleges.
“If a victim was not interested in using drugs, or used less than Buck wanted him to use, defendant refused to pay the person or reduced the person’s pay. Ultimately, if a victim refused to use methamphetamine too many times, Buck would lose interest and would no longer hire the person to party and play.”
Buck has been in custody at a downtown federal lockup since his arrest.