Democratic Party donor Ed Buck was convicted on Tuesday of several crimes in connection with the deaths of two black men who overdosed in his apartment in West Hollywood, Calif., More than a year apart.
Buck, 66, charged with selling drugs to men during sex, was convicted of all nine counts in downtown Los Angeles US District Court, including two counts of distribution controlled substances causing death. The two counts each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Gemelle Moore, 26, was found dead of an overdose in Buck’s apartment in July 2017, and in January 2019, Timothy Dean was found dead in the same residence.
“Buck has wielded power and control over his victims, typically targeting the poor, homeless or struggling with drug addiction,” the Justice Department said in a statement Tuesday. “He exploited the wealth and the balance of power between them by offering his victims money to use drugs and letting Buck inject them with drugs.”
Prosecutors said Buck solicited men to use drugs and perform sex acts at his home, where he then injected them with or without their consent. The government has called Buck’s motive a sexual fetish, in which he paid black men he met online to smoke and shoot meth, sometimes unconscious.
He was also charged with two counts of incitement to travel with intent to engage in prostitution, one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine and one count of using his West Hollywood apartment in the purpose of distributing narcotics.
Buck, a notable political donor, had given more than $ 53,000 to Democratic candidates and the Democratic Congressional campaign committee since 2008, according to federal records. Several Democrats returned Buck’s campaign donations after his indictment.
A sentencing date has not been set and Buck remains in federal custody.