A jury was shaken by disturbing evidence in the trial of disgraced Democratic donor Ed Buck, who’s accused of a “party and play” fetish that led to the deaths of two Black gay men.
The wealthy businessman, 66, was arrested in 2019 after a man overdosed in his apartment but survived. Two other men enticed by the promise of drugs for sex died in Buck’s apartment: Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55.
He is now facing nine federal-level felony counts, two for distribution of controlled substances resulting in death, and could be imprisoned for life if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Buck had a fetish for drugging Black men who he lured into an apartment designed for “party and play”. Those who survived overdoses reported harrowing encounters with a man bent on injecting them with methamphetamine and slipping them other drugs.
“Buck’s preference was to personally inject victims, and he pressured or incentivised victims to let him do so, sometimes offering large cash bonuses to coerce a victim to agree to an injection or additional injections,” prosecutors said in court papers.
“Other times, Buck simply injected victims while they were unconscious.”
Photographs of the apartment shown to jurors depicted walls painted dark red and blue, a mattress on the floor in front of a large-screen TV, boxes of men’s underwear, a collection of Halloween-style masks and a red tool chest allegedly filled with meth pipes, syringes and sex toys.
One man, who said he was paid $300 as an escort, claimed Buck gave him what he said was meth, but was immobilised on the floor for more than six hours. Buck told the man to leave, but he couldn’t move. When Buck approached him with a buzzing power saw, the man said a surge of adrenalin drove him get to his feet and escape.
After another party and play session that left one of Buck’s “guests” unconscious, the Los Angeles sheriff’s department alleges, Buck sent a text message to another individual saying: “He’s about passed out. It’d be cool to have you come over and jerk him off.”
The defence team says the men went to Buck’s apartment of their own free will and that many were already addicted to drugs.
“Many of them appeared to be drug addicts by their own admission,” said defence lawyer Ludlow B. Creary II. “They were living according to their lifestyle, and Ed Buck did not create their lifestyle.”
Jury shown shocking Ed Buck sex tapes
Buck recorded nearly all of his encounters, and police recovered over 2,400 videos on his computers, cell phones, and iCloud account. Of the 2,400, over 1,500 contained instances of drug use.
“In one such video, Ed Buck told a Black man to flare his nostrils and open his eyes really wide while facing the camera and blowing smoke from a meth pipe,” reported journalist and Advocate contributor Jasmyne Cannick.
She said some of the footage showed Buck referring to the men as the “N” word and other racist terms.
“In one particularly disturbing video – and they were all disturbing – Gemmel Moore is unconscious and Ed Buck is playing with his penis,” Cannick wrote. “Buck is seen grabbing, twisting, and posing Gemmel’s penis for the camera.”
“Ed Buck is Jeffrey Dahmer 2.0,” Cannick said, referencing the cannibalistic serial killer who often targeted fellow gay men. “Quote me.”
Family and friends of the victims said on Tuesday (20 July) that they were looking forward to getting justice for their loved ones.
“I wish I could wake up from a dream, and this was just a dream and Tim is still here,” said Joyce Jackson, Dean’s sister. “However, that’s just something that I’m dreaming that’s never gonna come true again. So today is a somber day, but it’s still a good day.”
The trial resumes on Tuesday and could conclude by the end of the week.