After seven days of testimony in the Ed Buck trial, the case was given to the jury late last Friday afternoon.
Jury deliberations begin this week, with a verdict expected as early as Tuesday. The jury consists of eight women and four men; only one of the jurors is Black.
Buck stands accused of nine felony counts, including two for distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. Two gay men died of drug overdoses in his apartment on Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood. Gemmel Moore, 26, died on July 27, 2017, and Timothy Dean, 55, died on January 7, 2019. Buck has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
When Buck was arrested and charged in their deaths on Sept. 17, 2019, many were relieved authorities finally took action. Still, others were shocked that the one-time candidate for West Hollywood City Council (Buck ran in 2007) could be responsible for these overdose deaths.
Buck’s affinity for Black men was common knowledge in West Hollywood. His frequent drug binges were also widely rumored. So, while both deaths were horrifically tragic, neither was outside the realm of what people knew about Ed Buck.
Many assumed (hoped) these were just isolated incidents. However, as the trial unfolded, it turns out these were hardly isolated incidents. They were merely the tip of the iceberg.
Since the Ed Buck trial began on July 14, detailed testimony emerged of the drug den that Buck apparently was operating and how he was engaged in “party and play” (drugs and sex) with Black male escorts, many of whom were homeless and addicted to meth.
Among the many previously unknown facts that came out during the trial:
- Police seized 2,400 videos from Buck’s apartment and icloud account. These videos documented his many sex and drug exploits. Approximately 1,500 of the videos show drug use.
- Some of the videos show Buck injecting crystal meth into men’s arms with a needle and syringe. Often times, the men were unconscious when Buck injected them.
- Buck liked his sex partners to wear white compression underwear to show off their bodies and genitals. Some videos show Buck blowing meth smoke into a tube connected to the men’s underwear.
- One video reportedly shows Buck tightly tying dozens of socks around a man’s penis. When the man says it is too tight, Buck refuses to loosen it.
- One of Buck’s drug dealers (who had immunity) testified Buck initially started buying seven grams of crystal meth at a time (costing $100), but gradually increased his purchases to 14 grams at a time and sometime even bought 28 grams at a time.
- At one point, Buck purchased 10 ounces of Ketamine, a mild anesthetic that produces a trance-like state.
- Eight different men who engaged in “party and play” with Buck testified at the trial. Each testified to various sexual and drug activities they engaged in with Buck, many confirming information others testified to.
- One man who testified was homeless and said Buck allowed him to move in with him but never gave him a key to the apartment. In return, he was supposed to help around the house and be willing to be injected with meth and take GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, a depressant commonly known as a “date rape” drug) whenever Buck wanted him to.
- Buck kept a chainsaw in his apartment and one man testified Buck approached him with it while it was running.
- A neighbor testified Buck had work done to soundproof the walls and windows of his apartment.
- Several neighbors testified seeing various Black men coming to Buck’s apartment over the years. They usually arrived between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
- Phone and text records indicate Buck waited two weeks after Gemmel Moore’s death before he hired an escort or invited a man over for “party and play.” But once he started having men over again, he had six in the next ten days.
- Right after Timothy Dean’s death, Buck tried to clean up the apartment before calling 911. Police found towels covered in fresh vomit.
- Before calling 911 about Timothy Dean, Buck hid a box containing 13 meth pipes and 9 syringes on the ledge outside his bathroom window. However, police found it. The syringes and pipes had DNA from both Buck and Dean on it.
- Phone records indicate around the time of Timothy Dean’s death, Buck made four phone calls before calling 911. One of those calls was to his then lawyer, Seymour Amster. Another of the calls was to then West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran. No information on the duration of the calls.
Buck’s attorneys, Christopher Darden and Ludlow Creary II (both African American), could do little to discredit the evidence being presented. On the cross examination of Latisha Nixon, Gemmel Moore’s mother, the defense tried to paint her as a bad mother who did not care for her son because he was gay. They also suggested that she was after Buck’s money via an ongoing wrongful death lawsuit.
Creary told the jury that Ed Buck’s alleged victims who testified went to his apartment voluntarily to do drugs and engage in sexual activity.
The defense also tried to cast doubt on whether the drugs caused the deaths, contending that underlying health conditions were the reason Gemmel Moore (who was HIV positive) and Timothy Dean (who had a heart condition) died.
As salacious as those details are, the media has largely ignored reporting the case on a daily basis.
On the opening day, every major local outlet as well as some national outlets had stories about the trial beginning. Given that initial surge of coverage, one assumed there would be similar coverage for every day of the trial. Yet for some unexplained reason, the coverage just stopped.
The Ed Buck trial details mentioned above came from daily reports by political strategist Jasmyn Cannick via tweets and daily summaries of what she saw in court.