Democratic Party donor Ed Buck was convicted Tuesday of multiple crimes in connection with the deaths of two Black men who overdosed in his apartment in West Hollywood, California, more than a year apart.
Buck, 66, who was accused of plying men with drugs during sexual encounters, was found guilty of all nine felony counts in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, including two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. The two charges each carry mandatory minimums of 20 years in prison.
Gemelle Moore, 26, was found dead of an overdose in Buck's apartment in July 2017, and in January 2019 Timothy Dean was found dead in the same residence.
"Buck exerted power and control over his victims, typically targeting individuals who were destitute, homeless or struggling with drug addiction," the Department of Justice said in a release Tuesday. "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 have said Buck solicited men to consume drugs and perform sexual acts at his home, where he then injected them with or without their consent. The government characterized Buck's motive as a sexual fetish, in which he paid Black men he met online to smoke and shoot methamphetamine, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness.
He was also charged with two counts of enticing someone to travel with the intent to engage in prostitution, one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing methamphetamine and one count of using his West Hollywood apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics.
Buck, a notable political donor, had given more than $53,000 to Democratic candidates and to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since 2008, according to federal records. Several Democrats returned Buck's campaign donations after he was charged.
A sentencing date has not been set and Buck remains in federal custody.