Former prominent donor to the Democrat Party, Ed Buck, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Thursday over his involvement in the meth overdose deaths of two black men.
In the eyes of his defense, Buck getting a 30-year prison sentence is nearly equal to a life sentence, given his age. The 67-year-old was sentenced at the US District Court in Los Angeles for both the deaths and supplying drugs and "enticing travel" across state lines for the purpose of sex.
Buck was convicted in July of last year by a federal jury of two counts of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, and two counts of enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution.
26-year-old Gemmel Moore and 55-year-old Timothy Dean died of meth overdoses at Ed Buck's Hollywood residence.
"Federal Judge Christina Snyder will allow Buck to serve sentence in Arizona near mother" former NPR correspondent Sonari Glinton described.
As explained by the Associated Press, prosecutors wanted a life sentence for Buck because they believed he could potentially offend again. Prosecutors further added Buck had a very specific fetish that exploited the "unhoused and destitute," and that injecting large quantities of meth into people played into that.
Presiding Judge Christina A. Snyder based her decision in a way that balanced Buck's philanthropy and the severity of the crimes, with her personal belief being that what happened was "more than just an accident."
The disgraced donor’s attorneys argued that their client should only serve a decade in prison. His lawyers were in favor of a lighter sentence because they claim Buck had drug problems of his own, and that the sentencing could’ve been balanced out with rehabilitation efforts.
In the eyes of his defense, Buck getting a three decade prison sentence is nearly equal to a life sentence, given his age. Prosecutors outlined how the defendant used social media and dating escort sites, as well as referrals from prior victims, to solicit his preferred targets.
Prosecutors argued that Buck's pattern of "party and play," in which he solicited men to take drugs he provided and perform sexual activities at his apartment, was "more than a fetish – it was a lethal and unchecked pattern of reckless disregard for human life."
Even on the day of his sentencing, Ed Buck didn’t believe he was responsible for the deaths of the two men. "Their deaths were tragic but I did not cause their deaths," he told the judge.
The final thoughts from prosecutors about the case disagreed.
Assistant US Attorney Chelsea Norell wrote in a court filing:
"Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the wealth and power imbalances between himself and his victims, who were unhoused, destitute, and/or struggling with addiction. He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions."
The Department of Justice said that "[Buck] exploited the wealth and power balance between himself and his victims by offering them money to use drugs."