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California Democratic donor Ed Buck charged with a felony for running a drug den

Posted at 5:02 AM, Sep 18, 2019

Democratic donor Ed Buck has been charged with operating a drug house after a 37-year-old man suffered a nonfatal overdose at his apartment last week. Two other men have died of overdoses at Buck's house.

Buck is accused of injecting the man with methamphetamine at his West Hollywood apartment on September 11, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The man overdosed but survived.

Buck was charged with three felony counts on Tuesday, including battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, and prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $4 million, the DA's office said.

CNN has reached out to Buck's attorney, Seymour Amster.

Gemmel Moore

The latest victim isn't the only person to have overdosed in Buck's home.

Two men have been found dead in Buck's apartment -- one in 2017 and the other in January. Both of their deaths were caused by methamphetamine overdoses, the DA's office says in court documents.

Gemmel Moore, 26, was found dead at Buck's home on July 27, 2017. Moore's death was ruled an accidental methamphetamine overdose, the Department of Medical Examiner- Coroner's website says.

The admissible evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Buck was responsible for Moore's death, according to a charge evaluation worksheet from the LA County District Attorney in July 2018.

Moore's mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Buck, 65, in February alleging that he injected her son with a lethal dose of crystal methamphetamine.

The complaint describes Buck as a wealthy white man who "had a predatory and injurious system of soliciting Black men and watching them cling to life." Both Moore and another man found dead at Buck's house, Timothy Dean, were black.

The lawsuit accuses him of wrongful death, sexual battery and assault and says he was not prosecuted "because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was Black."

After the lawsuit was filed, Amster responded on Buck's behalf.

"We categorically deny all allegations of wrongdoing and look forward to litigating this matter in a court of law," Amster told NBC News in February.

Timothy Dean

Separately, deputies were called to Buck's home on January 7 to respond to a person not breathing. When they arrived, they pronounced 55-year-old Timothy Dean dead. Dean's death was ruled accidental, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in March.

Amster told CNN in January that Dean and Buck had been friends for more than 25 years. Buck has not been charged in Dean's death.

"Yes, Ed does have individuals he associates with who have problems with drugs. He tries to talk them out of it. Sometimes they bring their problems into his apartment, and that's where the problem is," Amster said at the time.

Buck has donated to a number of Democratic candidates and PACs in recent years, according to information from OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in US politics. Recipients rushed to return the money after Dean's death.