A well-known California political donor was arrested Tuesday on drug charges and battery, following years of controversy and the deaths of two black men inside his West Hollywood home.
Ed Buck was charged with battery in connection with the overdose earlier this month of a third man, who survived. Buck is also facing charges of administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house in connection with that incident, which took place Sept. 11.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, and prosecutors are asking that his bail be set at $4 million.
Buck, a onetime candidate for West Hollywood City Council, is well-known in LGBTQ political circles in Los Angeles and has donated thousands of dollars to local Democrats and animal rights causes, as well as to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In a court filing, prosecutors said the high bail was necessary after the pattern of overdoses and deaths inside Buck's West Hollywood home. Prosecutors said without a multimillion-dollar deterrent, another senseless death was likely.
"Defendant Buck is clearly a predator with no regard for human life. His behavior is malicious and beyond reckless. His fetish led to the grooming and eventual death of Gemmel Moore," prosecutors said. "Undeterred, defendant Buck then engaged in the exact same behavior with Timothy Dean, leading to his untimely death. Shockingly, defendant Buck continued his path of destruction, nearly causing another fatal incident. His deadly behavior has not stopped."
If convicted of the three charges, Buck could be sentenced to a maximum of five years and eight months in prison.
Criminal charges have not been brought in the deaths of Moore and Dean, two black men who each died of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck's home. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in connection with the 2017 death of Moore, who was 26 years old. On the website Justice 4 Gemmel, family members and other supporters said he left behind a journal that accused Buck of manipulating him into using meth as part of a sexual fantasy.
Dean died in Buck's home under similar circumstances in January, prompting a homicide investigation. At the time, Buck's attorney described the man as a friend who arrived at Buck's home already intoxicated.
In the court filing, prosecutors said Buck has a pattern of preying on vulnerable men, who are often dealing with homelessness or addiction.
"From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes," prosecutors said. "These fetishes include supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims."
In various searches of his home, authorities found needles, pipes, methamphetamines, and sex toys. They also found hundreds of photographs of young men in "compromising positions" that were taken in the home.
Prosecutors said the full scope of Buck's conduct remains unknown.
"It is only a matter of time before another one of these vulnerable young men dies of an overdose," prosecutors said.