Ed Buck Is Convicted of Providing Fatal Doses of Meth to 2 Men

The deaths occurred 18 months apart at the West Hollywood apartment of Mr. Buck, a small-time Democratic donor.,


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LOS ANGELES — Ed Buck, a small-time Democratic donor and political activist, was convicted by a federal jury on Tuesday of nine felonies, including providing fatal doses of methamphetamine to two men who died at his West Hollywood apartment 18 months apart.

The men, Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, died after Mr. Buck, now 66, provided them with methamphetamine that caused fatal overdoses, the jury found. The Justice Department has described the encounters as “party and play” sessions that involved Mr. Buck soliciting men and giving them drugs at his home.

“Buck exerted power and control over his victims, typically targeting individuals who were destitute, homeless or struggling with drug addiction,” the Justice Department said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Christina A. Snyder, the federal judge presiding over the case, has yet to schedule Mr. Buck’s sentencing hearing. He faces between 20 years to life in federal prison.

According to the statement, Mr. Buck “exploited” his victims by paying them to take drugs in his home. Once the men were in Mr. Buck’s apartment, the statement said, he would prepare syringes containing methamphetamine, sometimes personally injecting the men without their consent — sometimes while they were unconscious. If they refused, Mr. Buck would either reduce their pay or not pay them at all.

The conviction is a significant turning point in a saga that led to protests from people arguing he should have been charged sooner and accusing him of preying on gay Black men.

A majority of the 11 victims named in the charges filed against Mr. Buck, who is white, were Black men, including Mr. Moore, who died in July 2017, and Mr. Dean who died in January 2019.

“I feel vindicated because they listened to us,” Dane Brown, 39, who testified at the trial, said in an interview after the conviction, adding, “All I could do was just cry.”

Mr. Brown, who is Black, said he overdosed at Mr. Buck’s apartment after Mr. Buck injected him with drugs. “It felt like I was about to die,” Mr. Brown said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Buck was found guilty on two counts of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, four counts of distributing the drug, two counts of “enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution” and one of “maintaining a drug-involved premises.”

The Justice Department said Mr. Buck solicited men from other states for the drug-fueled sessions and continued handing out drugs despite the two deaths. Mr. Moore was living in Texas in 2017 when he flew to Los Angeles on a fare purchased by Mr. Buck. In September 2018, Mr. Buck bought a plane ticket for another victim who came from Iowa.

Jasmyne Cannick, a Los Angeles-based political strategist who started the activist group Justice4Gemmel + All of Ed Buck’s Victims, said Mr. Buck’s conviction was a turning point for racial justice for gay and homeless Black men, and would hopefully set a precedent for others with power who preyed on them.

“He’s just one of many Ed Bucks,” Ms. Cannick said.

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