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Prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck convicted in deaths of two men he gave drugs

By Steve Almasy, CNN

Democratic donor Ed Buck on Tuesday was convicted by a federal jury of nine felonies, including giving methamphetamine to two men who died at his West Hollywood apartment after being injected with the drug.

Buck was found guilty of two counts of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, and two counts of enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution.

Gemmel Moore, 26, died of an overdose in July 2017 and Timothy Dean, 55, died in January 2019.

“It was a tremendous honor to be able to vindicate the rights of the victims in the case,” Assistant US Attorney Chelsea Norell said.

CNN reached out to Buck’s attorney, Ludlow Creary II, for comment but didn’t get an immediate reply.

According to a 2019 indictment, 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 in the document as “party and play.”

The victims were solicited on social media, including a gay dating website, and Buck used a recruiter to scout and proposition men, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said in a news release Tuesday that Buck typically targeted people who were destitute, homeless or struggling with drug addiction.

“He exploited the wealth and power balance between them by offering his victims money to use drugs and to let Buck inject them with narcotics,” prosecutors said in the statement.

Buck purchased a plane ticket for Moore, who had moved to Texas, so Moore could travel to Los Angeles in July 2017 to party and play at Buck’s apartment, according to prosecutors

CNN affiliate KCBS reported that Moore’s mother, Latisha Nixon, said Tuesday was bittersweet because her son died four years ago on July 27.

“But we got victory today,” she said outside the courthouse.

Timothy Dean’s sister Joyce Jackson thanked her supporters.

“Finally, Ed Buck will never harm anyone else, and I thank God for that,” Jackson said.

Norell thanked the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“They put together a tremendous case and we would not have had the volume and quality of evidence without our law enforcement partners who are the unsung heroes here,” Norell said.

Buck, 66, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison with a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

He also faces state charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Buck has donated to a number of Democratic candidates and PACs in recent years, according to information from OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in US politics. Recipients rushed to return Buck’s money after Dean’s death.

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CNN’s Sarah Moon contributed to this report.

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