What could have been a blockbuster moment turned quickly into a loquacious diversion as Seymour Amster, Ed Buck’s attorney, addressed West Hollywood City Council members last night during the Public Comments portion of the regular meeting.
In a dramatic display of his signature grandstanding, Amster launched a salvo of verbal attacks questioning the character of Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath.
Introducing himself as “the attorney for Ed Buck” Amster referenced his letter to the City Manager of the City of West Hollywood, requesting a formal Investigation concerning Council Member Horvath, pursuant to Rule 5.2 (see below) in the City’s Code of Conduct for Elected and Appointed Officials.
“5.2 Officials shall exercise best efforts to avoid the appearance of impropriety in the performance of their official duties.
The public’s confidence in the integrity and fairness of City government often hinges on the behavior of City officials. Real or perceived ethical lapses by City officials undermine the effectiveness of the City and cast a shadow on the decisions of its legislative bodies. Often, ethical considerations extend beyond the legal requirements of conflict of interest law.”
Amster’s client, 63-year-old Ed Buck – a prominent Democratic political donor has been at the center of a controversy surrounding the death from an apparent meth overdose of 26-year-old, Gemmel Moore–a known sex worker–since the story was first reported by WEHO TIMES.
Moore’s death occurred in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment on July 27, 2017, just hours after he arrived on a flight from Texas. Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, and other family members claim Ed Buck purchased the plane ticket.
During his comments to Council, Amster, who recently represented the Grim Sleeper (convicted serial killer Lonnie David Franklin Jr.) went on to say, “She [Councilmember Horvath] chose on August 21st to make comments about the investigation but never disclosed that Mr. Buck had opposed her in her election and campaigned against her.”
Amster asked that the matter be referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, with a request for a grand jury investigation to “disclose email records, all of her financial records, her email records on personal servers as well as personal telephonic records to determine if she [Horvath] has been involved in instigating, promoting or financing character attacks on Mr. Buck.”
“Mr. Buck has not been accused of anything. Mr. Buck has no complaint financed against him” Amster said.
Staring directly at Horvath, Amster accused her of employing Trumpian tactics. “Councilmember Horvath has chosen to utilize and to forget what our president does daily by sending out tweets attacking private citizens…. A Councilmember, a public citizen should never utilize their office to attack a private citizen and not give them an opportunity to respond” continued Amster.
It was at this point in Amster’s tirade that WeHo Mayor, John Heilman was prompted to admonish him, “please address the whole Council”.
Amster concluded his comments, quoting the Pledge of Allegiance and stating “we talk about liberty and justice for all, I hope this Council never forgets this. That justice for all means defend the constitution. This Council has to decide if you are going to let your councilmember make spurious attacks on private citizens before they are charged.
Following his comments, Seymour Amster agreed to an Exclusive Interview with WEHO TIMES.
Amster was quite candid and spoke at length about the deceased – Gemmel Moore, Councilmember Lindsey Horvath and his client Ed Buck.
WEHO TIMES: How is Ed Buck doing?
Seymour Amster: What is lost in this whole thing, no matter how you want to twist this, Ed is grieving and I think it bothers him more than anything that he’s not allowed to grieve properly, but he is grieving. He’s fine.
WT: There was speculation that Ed had bought Gemmel Moore the plane ticket? Any comment on that?
SA: No. You know, the reason why I’m hesitating on commenting on that is there is a lot we know about what was going on with the family between Gemmel in depth. This should not be an invitation for us to utilize this with spurious attacks. The bottom line is this.
WT: There is an ongoing investigation. Is Ed cooperating?
SA: We are doing what we should in everything else. Where the investigation is at, I don’t know. I find it fascinating that information is being disclosed by a private attorney and not a law enforcement agency. I’ve been an attorney… I hate to admit, I think for over 30 years or something like that. I never disclosed what witnesses are doing. Why? Why do you do this? It’s when law enforcement has found something, they chose to disclose. And they don’t disclose except in a courtroom and in an accusation. But if you want to keep a story going, because you don’t really have anything, you leak little things. You say little things, but nothing is happening.
WT: Does Ed plan on making a statement?
SA: I don’t know. Maybe at some point. If Ed has not made a statement, all blame should rest upon me. I’m a very paranoid individual.
WT: The elephant in the room – crystal meth. Was Ed aware of the fact that Gemmel had in his possession any methamphetamine or that he had a drug problem? Because that’s clearly all the speculation, some of the pictures evidence that. So was Ed aware that was a problem, or attempting to hide that in any way?
SA: OK. I’m not going to go into that completely because I’m not privy to all the facts. I’m only concerned about what is germane. Certainly, it would seem to me that Ed was bringing—allowing Gemmel to be in the house for a sanctuary for not being homeless and everything else. Uh, and probably he knows about the lifestyle, but there is still is the huge question. Where—if this wasn’t an overdose, which it looks like it was, OK? Until you get the autopsy reports back you don’t know everything for sure. But there is still the huge issue of the ingestion of the substance and where it happened. And what bothers me the most and I think I probably mentioned it before, immunity for felonious conduct—prostitution is not felonious conduct. Um, drug possession is just. There are just so many programs these days and these individuals—and I’m not trying to smear them. I think they probably have a criminal record, but drug possession is not something that is really going to affect them. But giving somebody the drugs that leads to death is felonious conduct and one has to wonder if something was being bargained um to protect the individuals involved in this thing. That’s what bothers me. Time will tell. But the problem is that it’s rare that law enforcement says we’re done with an investigation and it’s easy to smear but it’s hard to un-smear.
WT: What’s Ed’s state of mind? Is he seeking any counseling—any help?
SA: I believe in my interactions with Ed. His state of mind is good. In fact, I’ve allowed him to be able to see what is really happening here. This is the opportunity for somebody who has been passionate on issues to have those who do not like his passion and use it at a time when he’s vulnerable.
WT: You made a comment about the investigation, ‘perhaps not a comprehensive search’s – do you think that the Sheriffs who appeared on the scene and made the initial investigation were sloppy and had it been more comprehensive, this wouldn’t even be a question?
SA: No. No on both grounds. I don’t think the Sheriff’s Department was sloppy.
I guess we can talk with some expertise and authority. I think homicide detectives are very thorough when they walk into a scene—especially one like this, so not accusing them of being sloppy. It’s always been my experience that the first thing is protect the life first. Once we got the life that we can’t protect or we have to take them to the hospital or whatever. Now we’re trying to figure out thoroughly what has happened. We have complete access to a scene. We…usually the most valuable time for investigation for law enforcement on talking to anyone who might be involved is right after the incident because they are emotional and they are not thinking about the words or what they are saying. So that’s what I think is most valuable. So, no, I don’t think it was sloppy at all in any way whatsoever. Um, re-opening it? That’s the cautious thing to do.
WT: Can you acknowledge who the first phone call was that night? Was it the Sheriff’s department? Was it EMS. Was it to an attorney?
SA: It’s to 911. No, it wasn’t to an attorney. I’ll tell you that right now. It was not to an attorney. Not at all.
WT: So the first call was to 911?
SA: 911. Now, 911 makes their decision from there. I do believe that the first responders to the scene were paramedics. And then the Sheriff’s department quickly follows them.
WT: What prompted Ed to make the call? Was Gemmel unconscious? Was there drug paraphernalia. Was there a syringe? Was the door locked? Do have any idea what prompted the call?
SA: I think he was in a state of distress. I believe that’s what it was. Gemmel was in a state of distress, because I do believe what has come out is that Ed contacted a neighbor first who he believed was familiar with giving CPR or whatever, so I’m not absolutely sure in my mind if it was Ed who called 911 or the neighbor, but they were both there.
WT: So Ed reached out for help?
SA: Immediately, Yes.
WT: Remarkable that there has been no conversation or acknowledgment of that?
SA: There is no question. Ed reached out for help. You know… I think this is trying to make something out of nothing. Except, I want to hesitate before I use the word nothing. I don’t want that to be misinterpreted. A tragedy occurred. A young man lost his life. And that is never… nothing. The question is, are we trying to turn this into a criminal act. And that’s where I say the nothing is.
WT: The mother started another GoFundme account, Latisha Nixon, we assume is his mother. Do you anticipate, or has she initiated any type of civil suit against Ed?
SA: OK, so we have no knowledge of any civil suit. I can’t answer for her. If she chooses to, she chooses to. Not yet. We’ve heard nothing. No letters. No nothing. She’s a grieving mother.
WT: Does Ed want to stay in West Hollywood?
SA: I’ve heard nothing other than that.
WT: Lindsey Horvath?
SA: Yes. The issue is an appearance of impropriety. When you talk about a private citizen, should you be obligated to disclose this private citizen opposed me in my election and was active in preventing me from getting me elected and now I’m not saying this.
WT: We reported that by the way…
SA: I know you reported that, but she didn’t say it. It’s a difference between reporting…
SA: And coming out. OK. We have to… and that’s one thing that I want and I do think that she should be reprimanded in some way, because I think that any public official—if there is any possibility of a bias or a prejudice aspect of it, it must be disclosed. You’re a public citizen up there. You’re not a private citizen. I can say whatever I want, but even then, I went up there and I exposed who I was.
Secondly. I think this progressive city should use this opportunity to come up with rules of conduct on how they are going to handle a situation where a private citizen has been eluded from the media but has not been formally accused by law enforcement. That’s what I think is important. And just as a side note, I’m extremely disappointed in the Stonewall Democratic Club. Extremely disappointed! No. There is no accusation filed. There is no criminal complaint. I’m not so sure…
WT: Did they act prematurely or did Ed resign? It was reported that he resigned?
SA: It was an invitation.
WT: Does Ed hope to go back to activism, political involvement or is he done once this is over and done with?
SA: There is so much knowledge and experience that Ed has, that anyone who thinks that this is stopping Ed’s political activism is really not well informed.
WT: Thank you, Seymour.