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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Political activist Ed Buck will face a federal charge connected to an overdose death at his Los Angeles-area home, a law enforcement official said Thursday.
Buck, 65, will be charged with distributing methamphetamine resulting in the death of Gemmel Moore, according to the official with knowledge of the investigation. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity.
Moore, 26, died in 2017 at a West Hollywood home belonging to Buck, a gay activist. Another man, Timothy Dean, died of an overdose there in January.
Both men were black. Buck, who is white, was not charged immediately following the deaths, and critics later questioned if wealth, race or political ties influenced the investigation.
Messages to Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, were not immediately returned.
State prosecutors charged the wealthy and influential Democratic donor this week with causing the overdose of another man who escaped from his home this month.
In court documents, authorities said Buck used his position of power to manipulate male victims into participating in sexual fetishes that involved injecting them with methamphetamine, adding that he “has no regard for human life.”
Buck appeared in court on the state charges Thursday, and his arraignment was postponed until next month. He was held on $4 million bail.
Buck came under investigation in January after Dean, 55, was found dead of an accidental methamphetamine overdose in his apartment. In July 2017, Moore also died from a methamphetamine overdose at Buck’s home, prosecutors said.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, “is relieved that Ed Buck is no longer on the streets and free to continue harming black men,” her lawyer, Hussain Turk, said Wednesday.
Buck has donated tens of thousands of dollars to California candidates, including Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, and is well known in LGBTQ political circles.