Ed Buck, who was at one time a fixture of West Hollywood’s political scene, was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison for drug and sex crimes that included providing lethal doses of methamphetamine to two men.
Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Buck, 67, arguing he was a sexual predator who abused vulnerable men, often young, black, homeless and addicted to drugs, who’d resorted to sex work in order to get their fix.
The defense requested a 10-year-sentence, which is below the federal minimum of 20 years, claiming he was sexually abused as a child and that health problems led him to drug addiction.
64-year-old Buck was found guilty on nine counts in July. The charges included distributing meth, and enticing men to travel for prostitution. His actions led to the death of two; Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55, along with multiple overdoses, including that of Dane Brown, which eventually led to Buck’s arrest and consequently this sentence.
Thursday’s sentence concludes a long saga, in which prosecutors say Buck used his influence and wealth to prey on vulnerable Black men for “party and play” encounters at his apartment in West Hollywood.
The Guardian reported that Buck would pay men for sex, fulfilling his ‘fetish’ of injecting them with methamphetamine and performing sexual acts on them.
“Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the wealth and power imbalances between himself and his victims, who were unhoused, destitute, and/or struggling with addiction,” Assistant US Attorney Chelsea Norell said in a court filing. “He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.”
Buck defended himself, asking the court to look at his life “in whole”. His lawyer Mark Werksman also called Buck a philanthropist who is “redeemable and worthy and deserves compassion.” He added, “Their deaths were tragic but I did not cause their deaths.”
As per his Facebook page, Buck was active in gay and animal rights causes. A number of his Facebook posts showed him with Hillary Clinton, former California governor Jerry Brown, and US Representatives Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES