Police have reopened an investigation into a drug overdose death at a wealthy Democratic donor’s home in West Hollywood after a second man died on the premises early Monday morning.
Edward Buck, a regular donor to democratic campaigns including Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, was investigated for a suspected murder when Gemmel Moore, 26, was found dead of a meth overdose in July 2017.
The case was closed after the Los Angeles District Attorney found insufficient evidence to prosecute, sparking controversy from local campaign groups.
Now a second man has been found dead in Buck’s apartment. The LA Sheriff’s Department said the cause of death is ‘unknown at this time’.
The retired donor and political activist has been interviewed by police.
According to police Buck was present for both deaths and both men were black.
An African-American man was found dead in the Los Angeles apartment of a prominent Democratic Party donor – the second time a black man died in the home in the past 18 months. The coroner is seen with the body in West Hollywood on Monday
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies found the body of the man in the early morning hours Monday at the West Hollywood home of Ed Buck (seen right alongside Hillary Clinton in this undated file photo)
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said the man was a long-time friend of Bucks in his 50s, and had lived in West Hollywood for 25 years. Amster claimed that the man had ‘a history of substance abuse’.
‘Unfortunately in the early hours this morning, a good friend of Ed’s reached out to him. Ed was reluctant to have him over but he was insistent. He had him come over and come into his apartment,’ Amster told DailyMail.com.
‘Ed had just gotten out of the shower, so he went to get himself more appropriately attired. He came back into his living room and his friend was acting with bizarre behavior. Shortly thereafter it was obvious his friend needed medical assistance. Ed called paramedics. They arrived, they were unable to revive him, and unfortunately he died in the apartment.
This is the same apartment where in July 2017, Gemmel Moore, 26, was found dead of an apparent overdose of methamphetamine
‘It seems the individual came over already having consumed controlled substances. There were no controlled substances ingested in the presence of Ed, nor did Ed give any to his friend.’
The attorney said Buck was initially interviewed by officers who arrived on the scene, but has declined further interviews with homicide detectives.
‘On Monday, January 7, 2019, at 1.05am, West Hollywood Station deputies responded to the 1200 block of Laurel Ave in the City of West Hollywood regarding a person not breathing,’ the LA Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
‘The informant performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and called 9-1-1. Los Angeles County Fire responded to the location and pronounced a male adult deceased. The cause of death is unknown at this time and will be determined by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office.
‘On July 27, 2017 there was a death investigation of a male adult, Gemmel Moore, who was determined to have overdosed at the same location. Mr. Edward Buck was present during both incidents.
‘The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau has responded to the location and Investigators are conducting a thorough investigation, which includes follow up interviews and a secondary review of the July 27, 2017 incident.’
Emergency crews at the scene tried to revive the man, who has yet to be identified, but were unsuccessful. Buck’s West Hollywood apartment on Laurel Avenue is seen in the above file photo
At the time of Moore’s death the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office decided not to prosecute Buck, saying there was ‘insufficient [evidence] to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [Buck] is responsible for the death of Gemmel Moore.’
The DA’s Office said: ‘Likewise, the admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect Buck furnished drugs to Gemmel Moore or that suspect Buck possessed drugs.’
In February of last year Moore’s family published pages from his diary in which he alleged that it was Buck who first introduced him to narcotics.
These revelations prompted the LASD to reopen its investigation into Buck.
Since the investigation was launched, a number of other men of color have come forward to claim political power player Buck, who is single and came out as gay at 16, paid them to take drugs.
The coroner’s report, from July 31, 2017, noted that investigators spoke with a woman who knew Moore, who said that the prostitute had told her about another man he knew that had been tied up by Buck ‘over a year ago’, who then ‘held him against his will at the residence in West Hollywood.’
Family: Gemmel Moore is pictured here with his sister and his mother, LaTisha Nixon
The report also stated that Buck’s apartment was full of drug paraphernalia including dozens of syringes containing brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue, several baggies of white power, and a bag of a ‘crystal-like’ substance, such as crystal meth.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, said that her son had been involved with sex-work in the years leading up to his death.
‘I called one of my son’s friends and was like, “who the hell is Edward Buck?'” Nixon said, speaking from her home in Spring Texas. ‘And my son’s friend was like, “oh my God, that’s that white guy, that wealthy white politician guy… he was like “oh my God…’”
During Nixon’s conversation with her son’s friend, a darker picture of Moore’s life began to emerge, with Buck allegedly playing a role.
‘When he calmed down, he told me that Ed Buck was one of my son’s clients and that Ed Buck was one of his clients as well,’ Nixon said.
‘[Buck] would have my son to go out to… Santa Monica Boulevard looking for young gay black guys so he could inject them with drugs, see their reaction and how [they] would react and take pictures of them.’
The stairway leading to the apartment is seen in the file photo above
Buck was reportedly present in his home during both deaths, but has not been charged
The apartment is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home located at 1234 North Laurel Avenue
According to Zillow, it was last available for rent at a monthly cost of $1,650
Pages from Moore’s personal journal allege that Buck had a strange fascination with watching others take drugs, and had even supplied him his first hit of crystal meth.
‘I honestly don’t know what to do,’ he wrote in the excerpt from December 2016, published by the family, and advocate Jasmyne Cannick.
‘I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that.
‘Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.’
‘My life is at an alltime [sic] high right now & I mean that from all ways. I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming (injecting drugs) again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period. This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?’
His final entry, dated December 3, 2016, read: ‘If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.’
Buck is an active donor who supports the Democratic Party. He is seen above with former California Governor Jerry Brown in this undated file photo
Cannick says she has spoken to a number of other gay black men who claim Buck would invite them to his house, then pay them several hundred dollars to take drugs.
She shares reports from at least three men, under pseudonyms, who alleged that Buck would pay them between $100 and $1,000 to ‘Party n Play’, meaning to get high with them, and perform sexual acts.
Buck’s lawyer has said that his client is innocent and that Moore died of an accidental overdose.
Buck has given $47,427.50 to Democrat campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission figures, including Clinton, Barack Obama, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and many others.
He has been photographed with Hillary Clinton and former California Governor Jerry Brown.
The 64-year-old became a successful businessman, pioneering in computer technology, specifically in electronic information services, in Arizona before moving to Los Angeles.
A one-time registered Republican, Buck began getting involved in Southern California politics in the early 1990s.
After news broke of the second death at Buck’s home, Cannick announced on Monday that there would be a rally in front of his home calling on the LASD to arrest Buck.
Cannick is also demanding that the DA’s Office, headed by Jackie Lacey, ‘prosecute him for murder after another young black gay man was found dead in his West Hollywood apartment of an apparent overdose.’