Los Angeles County prosecutors declined Thursday to pursue any criminal charges against prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck stemming from the drug-overdose death of a 26-year-old man in Buck’s West Hollywood home.
According to a charge-evaluation worksheet prepared by the District Attorney’s Office, the evidence is “insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (Buck) is responsible for the death of Gemmel Moore. Likewise, the admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect Buck furnished drugs to Gemmel Moore or that suspect Buck possessed drugs.”
Moore was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose on July 27, 2017, inside Buck’s Laurel Avenue home in West Hollywood. The coroner’s office ruled Moore’s death an accident, noting that there was drug paraphernalia found in the home, along with sex toys and clear plastic bags containing what was suspected to be methamphetamine, according to a coroner’s report obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
According to The Times, the report also notes that somebody at the scene “is suspected to be known to exchange drugs for sex,” but the name is redacted. Moore was found naked on a living room mattress with a “male pornography movie playing on the television,” the report states.
With the death ruled accidental, however, no arrests were made and no charges were filed.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has repeatedly denied that Buck had any involvement in Moore’s death. He said Buck and Moore were good friends, and told The Times that Buck did not witness Moore injecting drugs the night he died.
“I think it’s time to bring this tragedy to a conclusion,” he said in November. “This was an accidental death. This was an unfortunate death … but that doesn’t mean we can make spurious accusations and spin something out of control.”
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, continued to push the sheriff’s department to investigate her son’s death. She noted that her son had been living with her in Texas, but Buck bought him a plane ticket to return to Los Angeles, which he did the day he died. Moore, who was black, had previously been homeless and worked as an escort.
Buck, who is white, is a longtime political activist and noted Democratic political donor, along with being active in LGBTQ political circles, The Times reported. He also once ran for a seat on the West Hollywood City Council. He was a major backer of the ban on fur sales enacted by the City Council at the behest of Councilmember John D’Amico, whose campaign for office Buck supported.
In mid-August, excerpts from Moore’s personal journal were made public as part of an effort to push for a renewed investigation into his death. In it, Moore wrote in December 2016 that he has “become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that. Ed Buck is the one to thank.” Moore wrote that Buck gave him his first injection of crystal meth.
The sheriff’s department announced on Aug. 15, 2017, that it was conducting a follow-up investigation into Moore’s death “out of an abundance of caution.” That investigation concluded earlier this month, and the case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office, leading to Thursday’s decision against pursuing charges.
Nixon is expected to hold a news conference Friday at 7 p.m outside the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at 780 N. San Vicente Blvd. to respond to the prosecutors’ decision. Nixon is expected to release a video in which another young black man alleges he was given drugs by Buck. As WEHOville has reported, Buck was back soliciting young black men under a new profile on the Adam4Adam gay sex site shortly after Moore’s death.
Amster has continued to insist on Buck’s innocence. He told NBC4 last week: “This was an unfortunate situation, this was a tragedy. “But it does not justify accusing an innocent man of things that did not happen.”