Ed Buck, the 66-year-old West Hollywood gay man who drugged vulnerable Black men and allegedly contributed to the deaths of two individuals, was denied bail on Friday.
Represented by former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden, Buck was attempting to be released from a Los Angeles prison in advance of his January court date. Buck is facing multiple federal and state felonies, accusing him of running a drug factory and obtaining and distributing crystal methamphetamine that led to the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, as well as several other overdoses where the men survived.
Buck, in failing health, claimed the risk of COVID-19 was too great in the prison he's housed in. He was also willing to put up a $400,000 bond, electronic monitoring, and home confinement.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver was not convinced, saying prison officials are cognizant of coronavirus risks and that Buck had incentive to flee before his trial.
L.A.-based activist Jasmyne Cannick, who has long urged officials to prosecute Buck, said that even if Buck did not flee the country, he would still pose a risk to the public while in home confinement.
"Ed Buck was asking to be confined to his home," Cannick told the media. "Home is where his crimes were committed. Home is where his drugs were delivered to. Home is where he was injecting people and sexually assaulting people. Home is where two Black men died. So we're excited and happy that the judge saw fit to deny his bail."