After four hours of deliberations, a jury in Los Angeles found Ed Buck guilty on all nine charges brought against him, including maintaining a drug den, distributing methamphetamine, enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution, and providing the drugs that led to the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean.
The conviction came four years to the day after Moore, 26, was found dead of a meth overdose in Buck's shabby West Hollywood apartment. Even though Moore left diary entries and told people Buck got him hooked on drugs, provided him with drugs, and enjoyed watching him inject meth to the point where Moore was unconscious, then-Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey failed to indict Buck. Some said Buck's donations to Democrats -- he has given half a million to various politicians in the past few decades -- was the cause for Lacey's reluctance.
Then, a year and a half later, in January 2019, Dean, 55, was found dead in Buck's apartment, also of a meth overdose. Lacey still did not bring charges until a third man overdosed at Buck's home but narrowly survived. The case that resulted in Buck's conviction, however, was prosecuted by the federal government rather than Los Angeles County.
Prosecutors had tens of thousands of texts, voice mails, and videos that laid out Buck's rampant drug use and his fetish for injecting Black men with hard drugs and then having sex with them, often when they were too high to consent. Some of Buck's victims -- several of whom were homeless and just looking for a place to sleep for the night -- wept on the witness stand and told the jury how Buck would also inject them without their approval, including when they were already unconscious. Buck's racism was also on display to the jury with witnesses recounting his use of slurs and Blackface-type masks.
Buck's defense, led by former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden, had no real argument other than shaming the victims, arguing their drug use and sex work as well as their HIV-positive status were reasons to disbelieve them. It didn't work.
Buck's sentencing will come later, but he is likely looking at spending the rest of his life in prison. Distributing drugs that lead to death carry sentences of 20 years -- Buck was convicted of that twice, along with seven other charges.
Jasmyne Cannick, an out activist, journalist, and Advocate contributor, has led the charge to convict Buck since Moore's death exactly four years ago. At court throughout the trial, Cannick expressed jubilation and catharsis at the verdict as well as anger at Lacey -- who was voted out of office in 2020 -- for failing to charge Buck after Moore's death.