Democratic Donor Ed Buck's Arrest Prompts New Lawsuit Accusations

The mother of a man who died of a drug overdose inside Ed Buck's apartment in West Hollywood has updated her wrongful death lawsuit against Buck and LA County prosecutors, saying information revealed in new federal criminal charges backs her belief that local authorities largely ignored Buck's alleged conduct with other men because the victims were mostly black and gay.

A second amended complaint filed in US District Court by Gemmel Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon, notes that even when local authorities arrested Buck earlier this month, the charges filed were not directly related to the death of her son in July, 2017, the death of Timothy Dean in Jan. 2019, or the accounts of eight other men who said they were paid to perform sex acts and/or inject drugs inside Buck's apartment. 

"Ms. Lacey's ... administrative or investigatory acts as described herein were motivated by racial animus and constituted purposeful discrimination that affected black women, black gay men, and gay men in a grossly disproportionate manner vis-a-vis similarly situated white women and white straight men," the updated lawsuit said.

Lacey's office has declined to comment on the federal civil case. Her office filed felony charges in LA Superior Court September 17 that accused Buck of battery, administering methamphetamine, and maintaining a drug house after Buck allegedly injected another man and caused life threatening drug overdoses on Sept. 4 and 11.

Buck's longtime defense attorney Seymour Amster said he would fight those allegations, but within days of the arrest Buck was transferred to U.S. District Court, where he was charged with distribution of methamphetamine resulting in the death of Gemmel Moore. That single charge could lead to a term of between 20 years and life in prison. 

Last week Buck declined to object when federal prosecutors asked that he be held in jail without bail until trial. Additional criminal charges were likely, law enforcement sources said.

Nixon's updated lawsuit appears to echo the accounts of two of the men mentioned in the federal criminal complaint as additional victims, who told NBCLA last week that they were mystified after they provided LA County Sheriff's Department detectives with detailed information about alleged incidents in Buck's apartment, but it appeared no action was taken.

"I told them everything that happened to me, like not hearsay," said Cody, one of those additional victims. Cody, who asked that his full name be withheld, said he hoped the account he provided to LA County Sheriff's detectives in April would have pushed law enforcement to act immediately in order to protect others.

"I did it because those could have been my friends. It could have been me," Cody said. "It was the right thing to do."

Lacey's office did not directly respond to Cody's statement, but said in an email late last week:

"The District Attorney's Office has been working with both the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office to bring all provable charges against defendant Buck. Defendant Buck was charged in federal court because federal law makes it a crime to furnish drugs if the drugs cause death. California state law does not provide for a similar charge.

"The District Attorney's Office is legally and ethically required and committed to only bring charges that have sufficient, admissible evidence to convince an objective jury of a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. After reviewing all of the admissible evidence, our prosecutors determined that there was insufficient evidence to pursue homicide charges against defendant Buck at the state level. A decision as to whether we have sufficient, admissible evidence to bring charges depends on a variety of factors, including witness credibility. The ability to corroborate witness statements, as well as the length of time between the events described and when they are reported to law enforcement, also are among the factors considered," the DA's statement said.

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