Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles sought a life sentence for the former Democratic donor, saying he preyed on vulnerable young Black men for his sexual fetish.

Source: Doha Madani and The Associated Press

Political donor Ed Buck was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Thursday after he was convicted on charges related to the overdose deaths of two men in his home.

Buck, 67, was found guilty last year of plying men with drugs during sexual encounters, leading to the overdoses of two Black men in his apartment in West Hollywood, California. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles sought a life sentence, saying Buck preyed on the vulnerable — often young and Black men — for his sexual fetish.

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His defense attorneys urged a lower sentence, less than 25 years, that would allow rehabilitation and treatment and “would be much preferable to relegating him to death in prison.”

Buck was found guilty in July of nine felony counts, including two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. Those two charges carried mandatory minimums of 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said Thursday in downtown Los Angeles that the sentencing decision was difficult because she had to balance the good Buck did in his life with “horrific crimes” that she called “more than just an accident.”

Gemelle Moore, 26, was found dead of an overdose in Buck’s apartment in July 2017. Less than two years later, in January 2019, Timothy Dean was found dead in the same residence.

Prosecutors said after Buck’s conviction that he “exploited the wealth and power balance” between the men and himself. They said he specifically targeted the unhoused and destitute to exploit them sexually.