Ed Buck today pleaded not guilty to federal charges stemming
from the overdose deaths of two men inside his West Hollywood
apartment, with the judge setting a tentative trial date of Nov.
Bucks plea at the downtown Los Angeles federal courthouse was
followed by an appearance outside by friends and relatives of
Timothy Dean and Gemmel Moore the men found dead in Bucks
apartment at 1234 N. Laurel Ave. who described themselves as
having come together as a family in their struggle to deal with
the deaths and to push for the arrest and prosecution of Buck.
LaTisha Nixon, Moores mother, carried his ashes.
In the press conference after Bucks arraignment, the speakers
praised federal investigators for arresting Buck on the murder
charges and condemned Los Angeles County District Attorney
Jackie Lacey for not more aggressively pursuing the charges
West Hollywood and its gay community overwhelmingly composed
of white men also was criticized. Paul Scott, a founder of the
Los Angeles Black LGBT Pride Movement, said that gay black
people didnt feel accepted in West Hollywood. Were certainly
not seen as human in West Hollywood, he said.
Cory McLean, a friend of Gemmel Moores, described what he
called a dehumanizing of black men
The gay life in West
Hollywood has exacerbated this.
At the brief court appearance, Buck, 65, who remains in federal
custody, was dressed in off-white prison garb and apparently had
difficulty hearing, telling the magistrate judge, Im working
with one hearing aid.
In addition to the tentative trial date of Nov. 26, the judge
booked a Nov. 4 motions hearing and Nov. 19 status conference.
Buck is named in a five-count indictment that charges him with
alleged narcotics distribution offenses, including providing
methamphetamine to Moore and Dean, each of whom died after being
injected with the drug at Bucks apartment at North Laurel
Avenue apartment. Each of the charges alleging the distribution
of narcotics resulting in death carries a mandatory minimum of
20 years in federal prison and a maximum penalty of life without
parole upon conviction.
The indictment alleges that Buck provided methamphetamine to
Moore, who was 26 years old when he overdosed on the drug and
died on July 27, 2017, and Timothy Dean, 55, who suffered a
fatal overdose in Bucks apartment on Jan. 7. Buck also faces
three counts of distributing methamphetamine to men in May 2018,
December 2018 and last month.
The indictment alleges that Buck engaged in a pattern of
soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform
sexual acts at Bucks apartment, which is a practice described
as party and play. Buck allegedly solicited victims on social
media platforms, including the gay sex hookup site
Adam4Adam.com, and used a recruiter to scout and proposition men.
Once the men were at his apartment, Buck prepared syringes
containing methamphetamine, sometimes personally injecting the
victims with or without their consent, according to the
indictment. Buck also allegedly injected victims with more
narcotics than they expected and sometimes injected victims
while they were unconscious.
Buck exerted power over his victims, often targeting vulnerable
individuals who were destitute, homeless, and/or struggled with
drug addiction, in order to exploit the relative wealth and
power imbalance between them, the indictment alleges.
One of Bucks attorneys, Seymour Amster, has denied that his
client who allegedly was present when the fatal overdoses
occurred in his apartment had any involvement in either death.
Amster was not present at todays arraignment, where Buck was
represented by Claire Simonich of the federal Public Defenders
Office. Simonich was assigned to Bucks case on Sept. 19, which
has led to questions as to whether Buck cannot afford to retain
Amster, a private attorney who has represented him since Moores
death in July 2017. WEHOville was unable to reach Simonich and
Amster declined to comment.
Buck also faces separate charges, including operating a drug
house, that were filed last month by the Los Angeles County
District Attorneys Office. He is currently being held in
federal custody without bond, and the federal case is proceeding
Buck, a former Republican who first made headlines in the 1980s
when he spearheaded a recall drive against Arizona Gov. Evan
Mecham, has been a frequent donor to Democratic candidates and
officeholders, including four of West Hollywoods City Council
members. He also is known for having been a force in the initial
election in 2011 of Mayor John DAmico to the City Council, with
DAmico pledging to push through the ban on the retail sale of
fur in WeHo that Buck had lobbied for. Buck also has been active
in LGBTQ political circles and once ran for the West Hollywood
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