In another move sure to stir some controversy, Chris Darden — who’s mostly known for prosecuting O.J. Simpson back in 1995 — is now representing Ed Buck, the Democratic donor accused of giving lethal doses of narcotics to two Black men who died in his West Hollywood apartment.
Darden confirmed that he’s representing Buck in a brief telephone call with KTLA 5. “That’s all I can say today,” he said. “I haven’t received any discovery yet, so that’s all I can say.” Darden replaced Buck’s deputy public defender, Claire Simonich on December 5, according to court records.
Buck, 65, is accused of luring various Black men to his apartment with promises of sex and drug use in exchange for money. He then allegedly injected them with doses of methamphetamine that led 10 of them to overdose, with two of them dying.
Buck was indicted back in October and charged with “two counts of distributing methamphetamine resulting in deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean,” according to a press release. With these charges Buck could face life in prison. He also faces three counts of distributing methamphetamine to guys in May 2018, December 2018 and September 2019. “Each of these three charges carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison,” according to the press release. Buck has pleaded not guilty. He also faces charges in state court, including battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, and operating a drug house.
Darden has been apart of high profile cases before, first by being a co-prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, where the former footballer was tried on two counts of murder for the 1994 slashing of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson was acquitted of the two counts of murder in October 1995.
Earlier this year, Darden also made the decision to defend Eric Holder, the man accused of fatally gunning down rapper Nipsey Hussle in March. The move caused a wave of backlash and even death threats towards Darden’s family. Finally things got so intense that he decided to quit the case in May.
Moore was 26 years old when he was found dead in Buck’s home on July 27, 2017. Moore’s mother, Latisha Nixon, filed a complaint that described Buck as a wealthy white guy who “had a predatory and injurious system of soliciting Black men and watching them cling to life,” CNN reported. The complaint accuses him of sexual battery, assault and wrongful death and it says he was not prosecuted “because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was Black.”
Moore’s death was at first called an accidental methamphetamine overdose. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, Moore wrote in a journal a few months before he passed that he was using drugs and “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth.”
In January of this year, Dean, 55, was also found dead in Buck’s home.
According to the Daily Beast, a coroner’s report says Buck told the sheriff’s department that Dean had “bizarre behavior.” In addition, “The witness [Buck] observed him using a piece of clothing to make a noose and tied it around his neck. The witness relays that he removed the ‘noose’ and the decedent then stood up and began throwing clothes up in the air.”
Buck claims that he went to take a shower and when he came back to Dean, he was unresponsive. “The witness reported that he did not see the decedent taking any drugs and they did not have sex,” according to the report. However, the the coroner’s report also said that Dean died on a living room floor on a mattress “littered with drug paraphernalia and sex toys.” Even more troubling, 64-year-old Buck waited 15 minutes before calling 911. It was reported that Dean died of a methamphetamine overdose.
Dean reportedly warned folks to stay away from Buck. He claimed Buck had a fetish for men sporting white long johns and once said, “Don’t go in that house because you might never come back.” When the first Black guy was found dead in Buck’s home, he allegedly said Buck was the “devil” and that “This might be it for Ed Buck.”