Embattled former Democratic donor Ed Buck has filed a new request to be released from custody ahead of his trial for nine felony counts related to the death of two men in his home. Attorneys for Buck have argued the 65-year-old gay West Hollywood resident is at higher risk for COVID-19 in prison.
Police arrested Buck in September 2019 following the deaths of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore and 55-year-old Timothy Dean, two African-American men, in his home. Both died of methamphetamine overdoses; Moore in July 2017 and Dean in January 2019. A third, unidentified man also overdosed in Buck’s home in September 2019 as well, though survived. Prosecutors, as well as the families of Dean, Moore and community activists, allege that the deaths are part of a larger pattern by Buck of luring African-American men to his home for sex and injecting them with drugs, often without consent.
Now The Pride LA reports that attorneys for Buck have filed a request for release, citing the 65-year-old’s risk for contracting the coronavirus while in custody. They cite Buck’s age, gum disease and cardiac conditions as putting him at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. Buck has also offered to post $400,000 bond, surrender his passport, and agree to electronic monitoring in exchange for release to his home. Prosecutors, meanwhile, have argued against Buck’s release, citing flight risk.
Ed Buck faces nine felony counts of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, distributing methamphetamine, soliciting prostitution and maintaining a drug house in connection with the deaths of Moore and Dean. Moore’s death was originally ruled an accidental overdose, and Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey declined to press charges against Buck at the time. Both Moore’s family and community activists alleged that Buck’s history as a political donor protected him from indictment. Following the death of Timothy Dean under similar circumstances, prosecutors arrested Buck and charged him with felonies related to the deaths of both men.
If convicted, Ed Buck faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes. His trial is set to begin in January 2021.