Ed Buck, the wealthy white gay man who donated heavily to Democratic political candidates, has gone on trial in Los Angeles for his alleged role in a deadly drugs-for-sex fetish that prosecutors believe ended in the death of two Black men, Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean.
Buck had escaped justice for years as, activists say, his wealth protected him from repercussions. He is charged with the deaths of both men, running a drug den, and enticing others to travel for prostitution.
Investigators determined that Buck had tied down and injected several individuals with methamphetamine and other drugs; he had at least 10 victims.
Buck sought out men who were struggling with homelessness and addiction, paying them for sex and to inject them with meth. The man who once ran for West Hollywood City Council in 2007 and championed for Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham’s impeachment in the 1980s became known as “Dr. Kevorkian” in the last decade among the local LGBTQ and homeless communities.
In 2017, Gemmel Moore, a young, Black gay man, was found dead in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. Investigators heard accusations that Buck was providing drugs to sex workers to watch them take them, but prosecutors declined to press charges because they didn’t believe there was enough evidence.
In 2019, a second man died in Buck’s apartment from a drug overdose, and later that year another man overdosed in Buck’s apartment and said that Buck tried to keep him from getting medical attention. He escaped and Buck was later arrested in that case.
“Just getting to trial is a victory,” activist Jasmyne Cannick told NBC News, pointing out that Buck had already spent nearly two years in jail awaiting his day in court.
Cannick has been one of the most vocal activists demanding justice for Moore and Dean; she has repeatedly alleged that Buck had escaped prosecution because of his race, wealth, and political connections.
“Who knows who could have died in that time,” she said.
Buck faces life in prison if convicted.