Key Witness in Ed Buck Case Left Homeless

Ed Buck was charged this week with operating a drug house and providing methamphetamine to a man who survived an overdose Sept. 11

The man whose cooperation prosecutors said was key to last week's arrest of political activist and donor Ed Buck says he's homeless.

"Before I met Ed, before all of this happened, I'd never been out on the streets like this," the man told NBCLA in a telephone interview Monday night. "I always had pride that I had a job and a place to stay."

The man, identified by the pseudonym "Joe Doe" in a criminal complaint, provided the information that gave the LA County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department the evidence needed for an initial arrest on state felony charges, according to DA Jackie Lacey.

Doe said he only learned after Buck's arrest that his information had been so important.

"I didn't know how much until I started reading some of the news stories, then it hit on the Federal level," he said. "I had no indications any of that was going on, I just knew they had a behind-the-scenes case building."

Buck was turned-over to Federal agents last Thursday. A criminal complaint filed in US District Court charged Buck with one count of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, for the fatal overdose of Gemmel Moore in July, 2017. If convicted Buck could face a sentence of between 20 years and life in prison.

Joe Doe said he’d hoped the County could help with temporary housing. He said a County official offered last week to arrange shelter space in Anaheim, but Doe said that would make a daily bus commute to a new job in West LA impossible. The official said shelters closer to LA were full.

According to court filings Buck, 65, administered two methamphetamine overdoses by syringe to Doe, who had to get emergency medical help on September 4 and 11. Lacey said at a news conference last week Doe was the only first-person witness to Buck's conduct that met the legal standard for filing a criminal case.

Since then Doe has been staying in a rented room near Downtown, paid for by activist, journalist, and LGBTQ advocate Jasmyne Cannick, Doe said. Cannick turned to her social media following for assistance in raising money for temporary housing, for which Doe said he was extraordinarily grateful to receive.

"I just want to get back to having peace," he said. "I need to find a home, I need that safe feeling again."

A fundraising effort has been established to help "Joe Doe" find housing. 

Lacey's office said it reached out to "Joe Doe" with offers of housing assistance last week and reconnected with him Tuesday.

The Federal complaint also links Buck to a second overdose death inside his Laurel Ave. apartment in January. Timothy Dean, 55, is listed as, "victim 1," in the court filing, which also identifies 9 other men who Buck allegedly invited into his home to use drugs.

Buck was being held with no possibility of bail until a detention hearing. He was assigned a public defender for the federal case and is no longer being represented by his longtime attorney Seymour Amster, according to a court record.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated adding a statement from Jackie Lacey's Office.

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