Ed Buck, who is accused of giving drugs to a man who died at his West Hollywood apartment after allegedly being lured across state lines for prostitution, today will ask to be set free to await trial from home.
At the bail reconsideration hearing, defense attorneys are expected to argue that Buck should be released from the federal lockup due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently moving through jails and prisons. Buck, 66, has offered to put up a $400,000 signature bond and submit to electronic monitoring and home confinement, court papers show. It is unclear where Buck would live if released on bail given that he has been evicted from his apartment at 1234 N. Laurel Ave. innWest Hollywood, where the death occurred.
Prosecutors allege Buck has a history of injecting Black men with drugs and paying them for sexual activity and emphasized in a court filing that a previous judge’s ruling denying pretrial release on grounds of danger to the community was correct. Buck is scheduled to go to trial in Los Angeles federal court on nine counts next year. He also faces state charges of running a drug den, but the federal case will proceed first.
Buck, known for his donations to Democratic Party candidates and successful campaign to get West Hollywood to ban the sale of fur, was arrested last year after being charged in federal court with providing methamphetamine to a man who died after receiving the drug intravenously. He now faces additional charges, including a count alleging that Buck enticed the 26-year-old Gemmel Moore to travel to the Los Angeles area to engage in prostitution. Buck allegedly provided meth to Moore, a Black sex worker, who overdosed on the drug and died on July 27, 2017.
Buck also is charged with a second count of enticing a man to travel with the intent of engaging in prostitution. He is also accused of knowingly and intentionally distributing meth, and using his apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics such as meth, and the sedatives gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam.
Trial is scheduled for Jan. 19.
Federal prosecutors allege that Buck “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment,” a practice described as “party and play,” according to court papers.
Buck allegedly solicited victims on social media platforms, including a gay dating website, and used a recruiter to scout and proposition men. Once the men were at his apartment, Buck allegedly prepared syringes containing meth, 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. Another victim, Timothy Dean, also suffered a fatal overdose in Buck’s apartment, on Jan. 7, 2019, the indictment alleges.
Each of the charges alleging the distribution of narcotics resulting in death carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years in federal prison and possible maximum of life without parole.
Buck also faces charges, including operating a drug house, that were filed last year by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.