Wealthy Democratic donor Ed Buck’s trial has been shown hundreds of graphic and sordid images and videos that he took of the men he paid to smoke or inject meth while naked inside his apartment for his pleasure.
The footage was shown to jurors over the past week as the 66-year-old stands trial in California for providing the methamphetamine that killed two black men – Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55 – 18 months apart in his West Hollywood apartment.
Buck is also charged with running a drug den in his apartment and persuading others to travel for prostitution.
Prosecutors say Buck exploited vulnerable men – most of them black – by paying them to come to his home, use drugs, then engage in sex play to satisfy a fetish. They argued that dozens of men had entered the ‘gates of hell’ when they went to Buck’s apartment.
A number of witnesses have testified that Buck paid them to take drugs and get naked or dance in white underwear he bought for them during ‘party and play’ sessions inside the apartment.
Buck is charged with providing the meth that killed two black men – Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55 – in his West Hollywood apartment
Prosecutors say Buck exploited vulnerable men – most of them black – by paying them to come to his home, use drugs, then engage in sex play to satisfy a fetish. Buck is pictured above in a court sketch that documents some of the videos shown to the court
Some have alleged that Buck sexual assaulted them while they were passed out from too many drugs.
Homicide detectives have testified that they uncovered 1,500 videos from Buck’s computers and phones that documented these sessions.
Some of the videos shown to jurors during the trial are so graphic that the US District Judge Christina Snyder told prosecutors to be wary of traumatizing members of the jury.
The judge even noted, according to the LA Times, that they may have to organize therapy for jurors at the end of the trial.
The videos show the men, many who were vulnerable or homeless, wearing black skull masks or military-style gas masks as they smoked crystal meth.
‘Stare directly into the camera, flare your nostrils and blow it out slowly,’ Buck could be heard telling one of the men in a video.
‘Now, if you add wide-open eyes to that, it would be a perfect shot.’
In other videos, Buck told the men to blow meth smoke into their underwear via a plastic tube.
One man testified that he fell asleep at the apartment in September 2018 after a session and woke to find Buck injecting him with crystal meth.
Buck is charged with providing the meth that killed two black men – Gemmel Moore, 26, (left) and Timothy Dean, 55 (right) – in his West Hollywood apartment 18 months apart
Prosecutors say that dozens of men entered the ‘gates of hell’ when they went to Buck’s apartment in West Hollywood (pictured above)
Another man testified that Buck plied him with drugs so he was ‘in a Zombie-like state so he could do anything he wanted with me’.
Prosecutors had previously told jurors that the men Buck lured to his apartment for ‘party and play’ found themselves in a situation of life and death.
Buck, who has given more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic politicians and causes since 2000, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His defense attorney has argued in court that the witnesses testifying against Buck are manipulative escorts who used him for his money.
‘The evidence is going to show that these grown men made a conscious decision to go to Ed Buck’s apartment for whatever reason,’ Christopher Darden said in his opening statement last week.
Buck’s trial comes two years after he was arrested in September 2019.
Activists had been rallying outside his apartment for months as they tried to pressure law enforcement to act after 26-year-old Gemmel Moore died on Buck’s floor in 2017.
Timothy Dean, 55, died in similar circumstances about 18 months later.
It took another another nine months and the near-death of another overdose victim – Dane Brown – before Buck was arrested.
Buck, who has given more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic politicians and causes since 2000, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is pictured in 2015 with Hillary Clinton
Brown told investigators he had been living in a hotel on Skid Row when he met Buck on Adam4Adam, a gay dating and escort site.
He moved in with Buck for part of the summer of 2019 and said Buck injected him with meth nearly daily for five weeks, according to court documents.
Some of the men who went to Buck’s apartment told investigators they believe he gave them the powerful sedative known as the date-rape drug, which left them unconscious.
One man, who said he was paid $300 as an escort, said Buck gave him what he said was meth but it immobilized him on the floor for more than six hours.
Buck told the man to leave, but he couldn’t move.
When Buck approached him with a buzzing power saw, the man said a surge of adrenalin drove him get to his feet and escape.
Prosecutors claim Buck provided fatal doses of methamphetamine to Moore and Dean.
The defense, however, contends all the men were at Buck’s apartment under their own will and Moore and Dean did not die from methamphetamine.
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