Federal authorities announced criminal action against prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck Thursday, who was already charged in state court in connection with the drug overdose of a man in his West Hollywood apartment, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News.
Authorities said that Buck has been charged in U.S. District Court with distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death.
Felony charges were filed Tuesday against Buck, who is accused of causing the drug overdose of a man inside his West Hollywood apartment last week. The charges made public Tuesday evening come after two men overdosed on illegal drugs and died inside Buck's apartment.
No charges have been filed in direct connection with those cases.
Buck, 65, was wearing a protective blue vest during his first appearance in state court Thursday. He did not enter pleas.
His defense attorney, Seymour Amster, said it was, "too premature," to discuss the charges filed by the district attorney. As for the federal case, Buck's attorney said he had just learned about it.
"They're two separate sovereigns and they each have an independent right to do separate prosecutions," said Amster. "That's something we'll deal with."
Buck was charged this week with operating a drug house and providing methamphetamine to a third man who survived an overdose Sept. 11. Prosecutors argued in an initial court filing that Buck is a, "violent, dangerous sexual predator," and a danger to the community.
Buck, through his defense attorney Seymour Amster, has denied any role in the earlier deaths of Gemmel Moore in 2017 and Timothy Dean in 2019. Both men died of methamphetamine overdoses while inside Buck’s residence, located on the second floor of a nondescript apartment building on Laurel Avenue.
The three felony charges filed this week include one count of battery with serious bodily injury, one count of selling a controlled substance, and one count of "maintaining a place for selling or using controlled substance," also referred to as maintaining a drug house.
According to the LA County District Attorney’s Office the charges stem from the September 4 and 11 near-death overdoses of a man identified only as, “Joe Doe.” During two alleged visits to the Laurel apartment, Buck, “personally and intentionally injected,” doses of methamphetamine into Joe, causing overdose symptoms that required emergency medical help on both occasions.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, sued Buck and the DA’s office earlier this year with the hope of pushing prosecutors to reinvestigate and file charges in her son’s death, which was initially classified as, ‘accidental.’ Court filings from the DA’s office repeatedly mention Moore’s overdose, but the criminal counts do not directly relate to the death.
"It's incomprehensible to me that it took a third man to be attacked and almost die to finally dissolve the unconscionable apathy that has allowed Ed Buck, a racist sexual predator, to roam free," LA area Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass said in a statement and in social media messages. "Everyone knew that he preyed on young Black men — two died in his apartment. The inaction in response had a message that was loud and clear: Black gay lives obviously didn't matter."
Law enforcement sources have told NBC LA that homicide detectives have accelerated efforts in recent weeks to interview other men who said Buck had allegedly paid them to use drugs and perform sex acts. Some of those men were granted immunity in order to secure their testimony.