Well-known political donor and activist Ed Buck has filed a new release from custody while awaiting trial for delivering illegal drugs to two men who died in his West Hollywood apartment.
Buck, 65, has argued that because of his age and because he has gum disease and needs special heart treatment, he is at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison.
The federal prosecution has asked a judge to keep Buck in custody, citing the risk of flying and the potential harm to the community if he were released.
Buck's defense attorneys Christopher Darden and Ludlow Creary II argued in a motion filed last week that Buck has long-standing community ties and would not flee if released. They said Buck would sign a $ 400,000 bond, hand in his passport, and consent to electronic surveillance if released.
Buck has been in custody since he was arrested on Sept. 17 by members of the LA Sheriff's Department. He was quickly turned over to federal authorities and charged with methamphetamine distribution, which resulted in the deaths of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in July 2017 and Timothy Dean, 55, who died in Buck & # 39; s apartment in January 2019.
The indictment also accused Buck of giving methamphetamine to three other men three times between 2018 and 2019. Buck could face anything from 20 years to life in prison if convicted on federal charges. He did not plead guilty.
At an initial hearing last fall, US Judge Patrick Walsh briefly considered whether Buck would pose a flight risk or a community hazard if released on bail.
"I don't see anything that could alleviate my concern about the danger," said Judge Walsh.
Buck had no objection to being held in jail pending trial.
Two days before the first federal charge was made, Buck was charged with aggravated assault, administration of methamphetamine and running a drug house in a state court. He pleaded not guilty.
The LA District Attorney's Office said the allegations stemmed from the life-threatening overdose of a man identified as "Joe Doe" in court documents on September 4-11, 2019, but otherwise unrelated to the deaths of Moore and Dean.
At the September 26 hearing, Judge Walsh also asked Buck's public defense attorney whether Los Angeles County authorities had returned $ 4 million that Buck apparently had bailed on the original state charge. No response was given in court, and a spokesman for the LA Superior Court said it was not apparent from court records whether Buck attempted bail before he was indicted in federal court.
Buck's defenders did not respond immediately on Monday.
The federal criminal proceedings are due to begin in January 2021.