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Human Trafficking Charges Added to Civil Suit Against Ed Buck

Ed Buck

The suit has been brought by the mother of Gemmel Moore, who died in the West Hollywood home of Buck, a major donor to Democratic candidates.

An allegation of human trafficking has been added to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Ed Buck, the prominent gay Democratic donor whose home has been the site of drug-related deaths of two Black men.

Gemmel Moore, 26, died in July 2017 in Buck's West Hollywood home. Buck, who is white, has been accused of forcibly drugging Black men, but no criminal charges have been brought against him in Moore's death or in the death of Timothy M. Dean in January of this year; both men died of drug overdoses. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has ruled Dean's death accidental, and county prosecutors declined to bring charges in Moore's death, saying there was insufficient evidence that Buck supplied him with drugs. Buck's attorney has also said his client bore no responsibility for either man's demise.

But Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon, and his estate have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Buck, accusing him of injecting Moore with crystal meth, after which Buck forced Moore to perform sexual acts.

"I've become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that," Moore wrote in his journal in December 2016. "Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth."

The lawsuit accuses Buck of causing Moore's death and lists several additional charges, including assault, sexual battery, and hate-based violence, saying Buck targeted Moore because of his race. It was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court several months ago but moved to federal court in May.

The amended complaint, just filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accuses Buck of human trafficking. "Mr. Buck knowingly utilized interstate commerce for the purpose of recruiting, enticing, and transporting Mr. Moore, deceased, from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, California for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts," making "false material statements" to do so, the complaint says.

The suit further accuses L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy Attorney Craig Hum of racial discrimination in refusing to prosecute Buck in connection with Moore's death. Nixon's attorneys, Nana Gyamfi and Hussain Turk, also say they believe Buck's record as a political activist and donor to many Democratic candidates brought him preferential treatment.

"The lawsuit doesn't only get some level of accountability from Ed Buck and from the District Attorney's office, the county -- in the language that they understand, which is money, but it also enables us to expose what Ed Buck is doing," Gyamfi told Los Angeles TV station KNBC. The DA's office has declined comment.

The suit seeks general and punitive damages as well as attorneys' fees.

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