Former Democratic donor Ed Buck was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in federal prison for the deaths of two black men who overdosed while in his home.
Buck, 67, was found guilty last July on nine felony counts, including “maintaining a drug den, distribution of methamphetamine and enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution,” the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. The meth-related charges carried mandatory minimums of 20 years in prison.
Buck had been exchanging drugs for sexual favors, which led to the overdose deaths of two black men in his West Hollywood, California, apartment. NBC News reported that prosecutors sought a life sentence for Buck, noting that he preyed on the vulnerable to fulfill his sexual fetish.
His defense attorneys, on the other hand, asked for a sentence of less than 25 years, suggesting it could allow for rehabilitation and “would be much preferable to relegating him to death in prison.”
“U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said Thursday in downtown Los Angeles that the sentencing decision was difficult because she had to balance the good Buck did in his life with ‘horrific crimes’ that she called ‘more than just an accident,’” NBC reported.
Buck is known for donating heavily to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Ted Lieu, and Adam Schiff. The Times reported last year:
Since the mid 2000s, Buck has given more than $500,000 to political candidates and causes, almost all of them linked to the Democratic Party. Forty politicians now holding office in California, ranging from Los Angeles City Hall to Congress, have cashed a check from Buck.
Current officeholders have received more than $150,000 from Buck, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu and Adam B. Schiff. Some have returned the money.
The men who died at Buck’s home were 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, who died in July 2017, and 55-year-old Timothy Dean, who died in January 2019. Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, reportedly “questioned whether Buck’s ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the investigation,” the Times wrote.
As The Daily Wire reported at the time of his conviction, Buck “was arrested and charged in September 2019 with operating a drug house after a third black man nearly died of an overdose on methamphetamines he received from Buck.”
“Ed Buck will never harm anyone else, and I thank God for that,” Joyce Jackson, who traveled with her sister to join victim Dean’s friends at Buck’s trial, said after his conviction. “Our lives matter, our community matters, and just because someone is unhoused, an addict, may be a survival sex worker, or an escort, or HIV positive does not mean their lives don’t matter and we should look the other way when they show up dead in a white Democratic donor’s home.”