Hundreds of graphic, sordid images and videos that wealthy Democratic donor Ed Buck took of men he paid to smoke or inject meth while naked inside his apartment have been shown at his trial.
Jurors have watched the footage over the past week as the 66-year-old stands trial in California for providing methamphetamine that killed two men – Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55 – 18 months apart in his West Hollywood apartment.
Buck also is charged with running a drug den in his apartment and persuading others to travel for prostitution.
Prosecutors say Buck exploited vulnerable men 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 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 men – Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55 – in his West Hollywood apartment
Prosecutors say Buck exploited vulnerable men 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 sexually assaulted them while they were passed out from too many drugs.
Homicide detectives testified that they uncovered 1,500 videos from Buck’s computers and phones documenting these sessions.
Some of the videos shown to jurors during the trial are so graphic that U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder told prosecutors to be wary of traumatizing the jury.
She noted, according to the LA Times, that they may have to organize therapy for jurors at the end of the trial.
The videos show men, many vulnerable or homeless, wearing black skull masks or military-style gas masks as they smoke crystal meth.
‘Stare directly into the camera, flare your nostrils and blow it out slowly,’ Buck can 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 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 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, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His defense attorney 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 rallied outside his apartment for months as they tried to pressure law enforcement to act after Moore died on Buck’s floor in 2017.
Dean died in similar circumstances about 18 months later.
It took another nine months and the near-death overdose of 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 claimed he was paid $300 as an escort and that 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 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 that did not die from methamphetamine.