Prominent Democrat Donor Ed Buck Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Prominent Democrat Donor Ed Buck Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison
Ed Buck appears in Los Angeles Superior Court in Calif. on Sept. 19, 2019. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)
Zachary Stieber

A longtime donor to prominent Democrats was sentenced on April 14 to 30 years in prison.

Edward Buck, 67, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder approximately nine months after he was found guilty of nine felony counts involving the overdose deaths of two men.

“This defendant preyed upon vulnerable victims—men who were drug-dependent and often without homes—to feed an obsession that led to death and misery,” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Tracy Wilkison said in a statement.

“Mr. Buck continues to pose a clear danger to society, as evidenced by him continuing to lure men to his apartment, even after he killed two men with lethal methamphetamine injections. The sentence imposed today will protect other potential victims and hopefully will bring some solace to the families of two men who needlessly died in Mr. Buck’s apartment," Wilkison added.

According to court papers, Buck for years through 2019 engaged in what authorities called a pattern of “party and play,” which saw the businessman solicit men, some of whom were homeless and struggling with drug addiction, to consume drugs he provided and engage in sexual activities at his apartment in Los Angeles.

In some cases, Buck injected victims with drugs.

Prosecutors had urged Snyder to impose a life sentence, arguing in a memorandum that Buck “is a proven recidivist” who “remained undeterred after his reckless actions resulted in a first death, a second death, and a third overdose requiring hospitalization.”

“Life imprisonment is the only way to ensure the community’s safety from Buck’s criminal conduct,” they said.

LaTisha Nixon, the mother of Gemmel Moore, a man who was found dead in Buck’s home, told the court in a letter that she was devastated by her son’s death and called for giving Buck the longest sentence allowed by law.

Lawyers for the defendant countered that Buck had a “highly traumatic and difficult childhood and adolescence,” including being sexually abused by his father and clergy members at his church, and spent the bulk of his life “dedicated to political and charitable causes” before becoming addicted to drugs, which they blamed for his crimes.

“Thus, the court should impose a below-guidelines sentence to give Mr. Buck the opportunity to rehabilitate and obtain treatment for the underlying issues which led to his involvement in the instant case, and to eventually reintegrate into society rather than receiving a sentence that effectively amounts to him dying in prison,” the lawyers said.

Buck was a longtime donor to top Democrat candidates, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Snyder, the judge, was appointed by Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Buck also donated to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama and Reps. Adam Schuff (D-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

A restitution hearing in the case is scheduled for May 16.