LOS ANGELES — The final prosecution witness in the trial of Ed Buck broke down during testimony Thursday, tearfully recounting how he nearly died after being forced to inject methamphetamine in the Democrat donor's drug den.
“I felt like I was going to pass out, and my heart was beating hard, and I was nervous and felt like I was about to die,” testified witness Dane Brown. “Something in my [mind], my mother, it was as if she was telling me to get up, get up. That’s it! I’m going to the hospital.”
Buck refused to turn over Brown’s phone to call 911, so Brown fled to a nearby gas station to call for help, he testified.
The two-week federal trial is expected to wrap up Friday with cross-examination and a witness for the defense. Buck, 66, has been charged with six drug-related counts, including two that led to fatal overdoses. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
In previous days, jurors saw gory photographs and videos of the dead men — Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55 — who overdosed in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. A stream of other witnesses testified they ingested large amounts of methamphetamine and sometimes unknowingly drank the date-rape drug GHB provided by Buck.
They awoke to find Buck performing sex acts or injecting them with more drugs, according to testimony.
The victims were found on a mattress lying on the living room floor of Buck’s apartment. One had blood streaming from his nose, forming a large pool next to his ear.
Most of the men were black, and all were homeless or destitute and desperate enough to take up Buck’s offer of a few hundred dollars to party, according to prosecutors. Sometimes evil-looking, black skull masks or a military-grade gas mask were worn, and the men endured painful sex acts to receive payment, prosecutors allege.
Often Buck found his partners on the gay dating-escort site Adam4Adam, according to prosecutors.
But once inside the seedy and sinister apartment with a living room wall that had flaming skulls on a red backdrop, Buck made it clear “he was the engineman and wanted to be in control,” Brown testified.
Brown moved in with Buck in mid-2019, after both deaths had occurred. He recalled injecting methamphetamine, or “slamming,” and allowing Buck to perform sex acts on him almost every day so he would have a place to live.
On Sept. 4, 2019, Brown ingested meth three times in one day and then felt like he was having a heart attack. Buck dropped him off at an urgent care facility, and from there, Brown had to take an Uber to get to a hospital for treatment to flush out his system, he testified.
A close brush with death caused Brown to move out of the apartment, he testified. But he was still without money.
So when Buck contacted him a few days later with a job offer to do household chores, Brown said he accepted. Once again, he was lured into doing drugs, including another trio of slams along with GHB.
“I was very tired, nauseous, but I didn’t want to tell him because of the events from the week prior,” Brown testified. “I thought I could handle it myself. I didn’t want it to be an issue.”
Brown recalled feeling sick, like he was about to pass out, and experiencing chills. He could barely walk but managed to make it to the gas station, which saved his life, prosecutors said. Shortly after, Buck was arrested.
Buck's den of death was a world away from when he socialized in previous decades with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Democratic congressmen Ted Lieu and Adam Schiff. His donations to Democratic coffers topped $500,000 over the past 20 years.
Buck’s defense has centered on claims the victims willingly engaged in the drug and sex scenarios.
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Original Author: Tori Richards