Eric Garcetti Buck Gurl
2019-10-09 06:38:16 UTC
at Bucks West Hollywood apartment, local authorities did not
lob criminal charges at him until last week
By JAMES QUEALLY, RICHARD WINTON, HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS
SEP. 30, 2019 6:26 AM
After a man was found dead inside the West Hollywood home of
Democratic donor Ed Buck in 2017, authorities quickly had reason
to believe the case was more complex than a drug overdose.
Los Angeles County sheriffs detectives found nearly two grams
of methamphetamine, syringes and drug paraphernalia throughout
the residence. The dead man, Gemmel Moore, had written diary
entries in which he said Buck got him addicted to meth.
In the weeks that followed, as activists from the black and
LGBTQ communities contended that Buck was a dangerous predator,
two more men came forward and told investigators Buck had pumped
methamphetamine into their bodies against their will, court
records show. A West Hollywood councilwoman said she, too, tried
to urge the Los Angeles County district attorneys office to
take the stories seriously.
But Buck was not arrested until this month, when local
prosecutors charged him with operating a drug den. Two days
later, federal prosecutors accused Buck of providing the drugs
that led to Moores overdose, charging him in connection with
Moores death more than a year after the district attorneys
offic declined to do so.
The new revelations have added to questions about why it took so
long to build a case against Buck. Community activists and
Moores family have been particularly critical of Los Angeles
County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey for not prosecuting Buck in the
wake of the first death and have questioned the efforts of
In the time between Moores death and Bucks arrest, a second
man died of a drug overdose in his apartment, and authorities
say a third nearly died of an overdose before escaping to a gas
station and calling 911.
At least eight other men alleged to authorities that Buck
provided them with drugs in exchange for participating in his
drug-fueled sexual fetishes. Several claimed Buck injected them
while they were sleeping, and two described incidents that
amounted to allegations of sexual misconduct.
In an email, district attorneys office spokesman Greg Risling
said the agency is legally and ethically required and committed
to only bring charges that have sufficient, admissible evidence
to convince an objective jury of a defendants guilt beyond a
He declined a Times request for an interview and did not respond
to a list of questions about the offices decision not to charge
Buck with lesser drug crimes or whether it had evaluated the
sexual misconduct allegations.
Bucks attorney, Seymour Amster, declined to discuss the case.
The sheriffs department also declined to comment.
Evidentiary issues appear to have plagued the original case
against Buck. In a document filed when the district attorneys
declined to file charges in 2018, prosecutors listed
insufficient evidence and an inadmissible search and seizure
among the reasons not to prosecute Buck. Law enforcement leaders
have never explained what, if any, illegal conduct was committed
during the initial search of Bucks home.
Lacey has said hearsay rules would have prevented prosecutors
from using Moores journal against Buck. Legal experts suggested
the same might have barred the testimony of his mother, LaTisha
Nixon, who said Moore claimed Buck forced him to use meth.
Court records suggest that local prosecutors who declined to
charge Buck in 2018 reviewed the same principal evidence that
federal prosecutors did this year, though Risling said the
charge connected to Moores death that was levied by federal
prosecutors does not exist under California law.
While that is true, experts said Laceys office could have
considered an involuntary manslaughter charge under state law.
The likely explanation is that the federal charge carries a much
stiffer penalty, said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola law school
professor and former federal prosecutor who reviewed the
affidavit filed in support of federal charges.
Buck would have faced a maximum of four years in prison if
convicted of involuntary manslaughter in state court. He would
serve a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the
Levenson said that the district attorneys office probably could
have charged Buck with a drug offense much sooner than it did.
After two deaths I dont think theres any doubt that there
was probably a time before this week for them to go forward on
these charges, she said.
Levenson also said the additional witnesses probably were
critical to the decision to charge Buck. Establishing a pattern
of dangerous behavior would go a long way to short-circuiting
his defense, she said.
The prosecutors were anticipating the defense in Moores case
to be It was an accident. You dont have an accident 10 times,
so the pattern is key, Levenson said. Even though the facts
havent changed, how you perceive them does.
Federal prosecutors became involved in the case in June, after
it was referred to their attention by a sheriffs deputy working
on a federal drug task force, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for
the U.S. attorneys office in Los Angeles. The federal case is
expected to proceed to trial first.
While state and federal agencies said they collaborated on the
case, law enforcement sources previously told The Times that
there was a debate over which jurisdiction to charge Buck in.
One source described the situation as a fight.
It is unclear why the district attorneys office did not act on
the drug-related accusations described in the federal complaint,
though the court documents do not list specific dates and times
of those incidents, meaning they could have been beyond a
statute of limitations or difficult to corroborate.
The charges brought by the district attorneys office this month
are focused on a single victim, identified only as Joe Doe.
The man, who spoke to The Times last week, said he had been
homeless until he moved into Bucks residence in late July.
According to the federal complaint, he lived with Buck for
nearly five weeks, using drugs or having sex almost daily. After
fleeing from Buck earlier this month, the man landed back on the
street. The man declined to discuss his relationship with Buck.
Activists and attorneys involved in the case said the sheer
volume of allegations in the federal complaint suggest Buck
should have been arrested earlier.
There were numerous Joe Does, and over two years, our team
worked together to bring seven or eight Joe Does to the county.
The county interviewed them, said Hussain Turk, an attorney
representing Nixon. During these interviews, they each told
their stories about how they were forced to ingest or forcibly
injected with crystal methamphetamine at lethal doses, sometimes
while they were passed out, not even conscious.
West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Horvath said she tried to
encourage the district attorney to allow potential witnesses to
speak with immunity from prosecution from other potential
crimes, such as drug use or prostitution, in the wake of Moores
death, but her calls to Laceys office were not returned.
Horvath said she was able to speak to Lacey only after a second
man, 55-year-old Timothy Dean, died in Bucks apartment in
Attorney Nana Gyamfi, who represents some of the witnesses, said
investigators expressed doubt about the mens stories because
they were sex workers.
It was like they kept trying to disprove their own case, she
Risling said witness credibility was among the issues that
weighed on prosecutors when they declined to charge Buck in
2018, but he did not elaborate.
Nixon has repeatedly said authorities seemed uninterested in her
sons case, rarely contacting her during the investigation into
his death. Nixon said she received one phone call from a
sheriffs detective last year to tell her about the decision
not to charge Buck.
She heard from county officials at least once more: when the
coroners office sent her a bill for removing her sons body
from Bucks home.
I was going to pay it at first, but I thought about it and I
said, why would I pay for someone murdering my son? she asked.
Under California law, coroners offices can charge fees for the
transportation and storage of decedents. Sarah Ardalani, a
spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County coroners office, said
the agency makes exceptions in the case of homicides, the deaths
of military veterans and victims under 14, or if the family
requests a fee waiver because of financial hardship. Moores
death had been ruled accidental at the time, and Nixon did not
apply for a fee waiver, Ardalani said.
Some have suggested that Bucks status as a wealthy Democratic
donor may have insulated him from prosecution at first. Buck,
who first gained prominence as a registered Republican in
Arizona, had contributed more than $500,000 to progressive
causes in the last decade and supported candidates for the West
Hollywood City Council, Los Angeles Unified School District
board and the reelection campaign of Mayor Eric Garcetti.
But his donations to the campaigns of the law enforcement
leaders tasked with pursuing him were small. Records show Buck
donated $100 to Lacey in 2012. He never donated to the campaigns
of former Sheriff Jim McDonnell or Sheriff Alex Villanueva,
county records show.
Levenson said there were also other hurdles to charging Buck
with Moores death.
To be fair to Laceys people, there are some interesting
causation issues, at least with the Moore case, she said. How
were they going to prove it was Bucks meth? How were they going
to prove that Buck forced Moore to do this? Those are all
It remains unclear if Buck could face additional charges. Lacey
has said he remains a suspect in Moores and Deans deaths.
Nixon said she is frustrated that it took a two-year saga to
charge Buck but hopes federal authorities can finally succeed
where others failed.
I think they initially didnt care. Think about it, she said.
The black, gay community, a lot of people dont care about
them. I honestly think thats why it took them so long. Nixon
Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.
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Replying to an old post and clicking the start new thread button
won't work either, cocksucker. Your ass is owned.