Ed Buck, the once influential democratic donor and LGBT+ political activist, was denied bail on Friday (25 September) following the death of two Black gay men.
This followed a petition to have Buck return to his West Hollywood home ahead of his trial.
Buck is being represented by Christopher Darden, the OJ Simpson co-prosecutor. Darden claimed that Buck should return home to avoid an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure in prison.
Yet, US magistrate judge Rozella A Oliver of the US District Court for the Central District of California had deemed Buck to be an extreme flight risk, rejecting his plea for an electric ankle monitor as well as bail for $400,000, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Buck, 66, is facing a slew of federal and state felonies that accuse him of operating a “drug factory” which led to the deaths of three Black gay men.
Darden told the New York Times: “I am disturbed by the notion that people made Ed Buck’s arrest and prosecution a political issue.”
Los Angeles-based activist and journalist Jasmyne Cannick told the media that even if Buck had been in home confinement, he would be a major risk to the public.
“Ed Buck was asking to be confined to his home,” Cannick said.
“Home is where his crimes were committed. Home is where his drugs were delivered to. Home is where he was injecting people and sexually assaulting people.
“Home is where two Black men died. So we’re excited and happy that the judge saw fit to deny his bail.”
Cannick has been at the forefront of efforts to bring Buck to trial, along with one of the victim’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, who has been urging members of her community to sign a petition to deny Buck bail.
The once-esteemed Democratic political fundraiser Ed Buck is facing five felony charges.
Ed Buck is facing five charges, including two counts of distributing methamphetamine resulting in death, and three counts of distributing methamphetamine to men in May 2018, December 2018 and September 2019, according to a release from the US justice department
In July 2017, the body of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore was found at Buck’s home. At the time, a medical examiner found that Moore’s death was the result of an accidental methamphetamine overdose, given by Buck.
A second man, gay porn star actor, Timothy Michael Dean, overdosed at Buck’s home in January 2019. Dean was 55-years-old and a longtime friend of Buck.
The 66-year-old was finally arrested September 2019, after a third gay Black sex worker survived an overdose at his house.
In August, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Buck with four further counts, on top of the five felony charges he is already facing.
Prosecutors say that Buck had used his wealth, platform and position of power to target gay Black men who were vulnerable due to homelessness and drug addiction.
When petitioning to deny Bucks bail, The mother of the victim, Gemmel Moore, said: “This is for my son’s community.”
“I don’t want no more Black gay men dying at the hands of Ed Buck or anyone else.”