Democratic Fundraiser Ed Buck Denied Bail in Pretrial Hearing

September 26, 2020 Updated: September 26, 2020

Democratic Party fundraiser Ed Buck was denied bail in a pretrial hearing Friday, with a judge saying he poses a danger to the community and is a flight risk, according to reports.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver denied Buck’s request to be released ahead of his trial in January, KCAL reports, saying the conditions presented by the defendant’s attorney were “insufficient” to ensure his presence at his trial in January. She also determined that Buck, who stands accused of giving drugs to a man who then died of an overdose, represents a potential danger to the public.

His attorneys offered a $400,000 bond and argued he should be released due the spread of COVID-19 in jails, according to NBCLA.

Oliver said Buck, who is 66 years old, did not suffer from any conditions, aside from his age, that would put him at elevated risk and that his attorneys did not show his medical needs could not be met while in detention.

Buck, who over the years has donated funds to a slew of top Democrats, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, was arrested last year on federal charges of providing methamphetamine to a man who injected the drug intravenously and died.

“The case against Mr. Buck alleges that he provided Gemmel Moore with a lethal dose of methamphetamine,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told reporters at a Sept. 19 press conference.

The 65-year-old “brought Mr. Moore to L.A. with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.”

Buck faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna, from left, at podium, with Los Angeles County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Chief-Detective Division Lt. Pat Nelson, and Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener listen to questions at a news conference about the federal charge against Ed Buck, in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sept. 19, 2019. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)

Moore, who was found dead in July 2017, had written in his journal that Buck was “the one to thank” for his becoming addicted to drugs.

“He gave me my first injection of crystal meth, it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted,” he wrote in 2016. He later added, “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”

Since 2017, two men have been found dead from drugs in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. In January 2019, Timothy Dean was found dead by overdose at Buck’s residence. Another man overdosed at the apartment in September 2019 but escaped and called the authorities, prosecutors said.

Buck was arrested in September 2019 and charged with operating a drug house, three counts of battery causing serious injury, and operating a drug house.

Epoch Times Photo
A man walks his dog past an apartment building in West Hollywood, Calif. on Jan. 8, 2019, where an unidentified man died in the apartment of Democratic Party donor Ed Buck. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo)

Hanna said at the Sept. 19 press conference that authorities have found 10 additional victims, including nine who “said Buck administered drugs to them or strongly encouraged them to ingest narcotics as part of an agreement to be compensated for sexual services.”

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said at the press conference that “We were not at all moved by his reputation,” referring to Buck’s connections with powerful officials within the state and nationally.

“Under state law, however, we determined there was insufficient admissible evidence to hold Mr. Buck responsible for the deaths of Mr. Moore and Mr. Dean,” Lacey added. “Ultimately, we arrived at the conclusion that there were more options under federal law that could carry a lengthier prison sentence.”

His trial is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2021.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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