Los Angeles

Human Trafficking Accusation Added to Wrongful Death Lawsuit Facing Noted Political Activist and Donor

A new legal filing accuses prominent political activist and donor Ed Buck of violating federal human trafficking laws when he allegedly supplied an airline ticket to a man who flew to Los Angeles from Texas and died inside Buck's West Hollywood apartment.

The legal document, an addition to the wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this year by the dead man's mother, says Buck, "knowingly utilized interstate commerce," for the purpose of moving the man to Southern California, "for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts."

It also accused Buck of sharing an explicit video recording.

Buck's attorney Seymour Amster has denied the accusations in the lawsuit and said earlier this year, "we'll fight the accusations vigorously."

The lawsuit centers on the June 27, 2017 death of Gemmel Moore inside Buck's apartment.

The case also accuses the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office of ignoring evidence of criminal wrongdoing when it decided last year not to file criminal charges.

Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon, told NBC4 she was frustrated that the DA failed to act, and said she didn't want to see any other mothers lose their loved ones in a similar way.

"I just think they don't care," Nixon said.

The case, filed in LA Superior Court, alleges wrongful death, sexual battery, hate violence, drug dealer liability, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and two violations of civil rights.

The DA's Office has declined to comment.

Moore's death was initially classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose.

The LA County Sheriff's Department reexamined the case after Nixon and activists demanded a deeper investigation.

In January 2019, Timothy Dean, 55, died in Buck's apartment on Laurel Avenue under similar circumstances.

Buck's attorney has said Dean arrived at the apartment already under the influence of a drug.

Nixon's attorneys, Nana Gyamfi and Hussain Turk, said they believe Buck has received preferential treatment from police and prosecutors, possibly as a result of his history of political activism and campaign donations to a wide variety of elected officials.

"The lawsuit doesn't only get some level of accountability from Ed Buck and from the District Attorney's office, the County — in the language that they understand, which is money, but it also enables us to expose what Ed Buck is doing," Gyamfi said.

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