Ed Buck Trial: Day Three

Below is my summarization of the proceedings on the third day of Democratic donor Ed Buck’s federal criminal trial.

In USA v. Edward Buck, Buck is charged in a nine-count first superseding indictment with distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C) (Counts 1 and 2); distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C) (Counts 2 through 6); maintaining a drug premises, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(1) (Count 7); and enticement to travel for purposes of prostitution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(a) (Counts 8 and 9).

Buck has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is represented by Christopher Darden and Ludlow Creary II.

TRIGGER WARNING: Reading further may be disturbing, even traumatizing, to some people who are sensitive to drug use, racial slurs, or sadomasochism.

July 16, 2021

Friday’s testimony was by far the most disturbing testimony given to date in Ed Buck’s trial. 

I have been covering and chasing Ed Buck since August 2017. I knew Ed Buck was a bad man. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw during court on Friday.

I left court knowing we absolutely did the right thing in chasing Ed Buck into the jail cell he currently resides in and that former District Attorney Jackie Lacey should be brought up on criminal charges for failing to charge Ed Buck.

Sergeant Paul Cardella, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

We began day three with Sergeant Paul Cardella on the stand.  Cardella had taken the stand late Thursday and was expected to continue his testimony on Friday.

Sergeant Paul Cardella was brought in to testify that during the investigation into Ed Buck, he and members of the investigative team seized approximately eight of Buck’s digital devices and Buck’s iCloud, which Cardella searched and discovered messages, photographs, and videos evidencing Buck’s party and play sessions, including sessions with Gemmel Moore.  He was also expected to give an overview of the investigation and introduce that digital device evidence, including going through text messages found on Buck’s devices that evidence Buck’s pattern of soliciting others for party and play.  

PnP or party and play — also called “chemsex”— is a subculture of drug use that occurs while having sex. PnP has been widely associated with gay men and with men who have sex with other men, although it spans sexual preferences.

The tone was set first thing in the morning.  We saw a video of Gemmel Moore at Ed Buck’s house.

Gemmel was nearly naked except for the white underwear he is wearing.  Ed Buck is filming him.

Gemmel tells Ed Buck that he doesn’t want his face in the video.  Buck clearly ignores Gemmel’s request because we can see Gemmel’s face.

He tells Gemmel not to worry because he’s going to erase the video and that he’s only recording to let Gemmel see what he looks like.

In the video, you can see Ed Buck smoking crystal meth and blowing the smoke into a rubber tube of which the end is inside of the white underwear.  Ed Buck is being sexually aroused watching the smoke from the meth come out of the underwear Gemmel has on.

In another video, Gemmel is shown smoking meth from a pipe and Ed Buck has the camera focused on Gemmel’s erect penis in white underwear with a rubber tube and smoke coming out of it.

Buck can be heard in the background saying, “Go one more time,” encouraging Gemmel to smoke more meth.

We were shown a screenshot from a video taken July 31, 2016, of naked Gemmel Moore with Ed Buck being seen through a mirror in the background filming.

There were multiple videos shown to the jury of Gemmel Moore smoking meth in white underwear with Ed Buck.

In one video Gemmel tells Ed Buck that he doesn’t know if he can handle another slam and that he’s high.

Ed Buck responds that he’s there to make Gemmel “offers and indecent proposals.”

Slamming’ is the term used to describe the action of injecting meth, typically in relation to gay and bisexual men.

Gemmel tells Ed Buck in the video that he doesn’t like tweaking.

Tweaking is a slang term that means to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Tweaking is also defined as “to malfunction or to react with extreme emotion.” The odd actions and behaviors that can take place after meth use are known as tweaking, while the user is called a tweaker.

Ed Buck is injecting Gemmel Moore with meth in his arm and tells him that he’ll get over it.

One particularly disturbing video–and they were all disturbing–Gemmel Moore is unconscious and Ed Buck is playing with his penis.  Buck is seen grabbing, twisting, and posing Gemmel’s penis for the camera.

A video from September 6, 2016, shows Gemmel Moore telling Ed Buck that’s he’s high AF and him asking Buck to remove the dozens of socks tied tight around his penis.  In this video, Gemmel is almost completely buried under a pile of mostly white-colored underwear.

GEMMEL MOORE: I need to take this thing off my dick and stroke it.

ED BUCK: No, you don’t. Only I get to touch your dick.

GEMMEL MOORE: I am so vulnerable.

ED BUCK: Yes, you are. Yes, you are.

We saw a video dated October 16, 2016, of Ed Buck in front of the same American flag that I featured other young men standing in front of in my previous coverage. Buck has a tube in his white underwear with smoke coming out of it.

Blake in front of the American flag hanging up in Ed Buck’s apartment.

We then see Gemmel in a pair of big black boots. They look to be the exact same pair of boots “Blake” was wearing in an interview I published on August 20, 2017. Sadly, Blake passed away before he could see Ed Buck arrested and charged for his crimes.

But we see Gemmel in these big black boots and Ed Buck is again blowing smoke from a meth pipe in a rubber tube into Gemmel’s underwear. They are in front of the American flag. We also see Buck positioning the clothes on Gemmel the way he wants them including his penis.

Blake wearing the same boots we saw Gemmel Moore and other men wearing in Ed Buck’s apartment

We see a traumatizing photo of Gemmel Moore who looks like he’s dead with his eyes wide open and Ed Buck is in the background.

A video dated December 9, 2016, shows Gemmel Moore smoking meth and Ed Buck tells him to hold it and not to move.

A triggering video of Gemmel Moore with a leather bondage full head hood with a noose on. Gemmel is smoking meth in front of the American flag and you can hear Ed Buck’s voice.

The jury is then shown a text message from July 19, 2018,  from Ed Buck to Timothy Dean

ED BUCK: I have 8 more days to go with Jamall More [sic] sheriff investigating me bullshit. On the 28th of this month we will know what’s going to happen and the muzzle comes off and I can speak.

Thanks, Jackie Lacey.

Now if you recall, Ed Buck told the sheriffs that Gemmel Moore was his friend–a good and close friend. He even had his hired mouthpiece attorney Seymour Amster telling anyone who would listen the exact same thing.

Maybe you can overlook the fact that he never called his good friend’s mother to offer condolences to her after her son died of an overdose in his home, that he never chipped in one dime for Gemmel’s funeral, nor did he attend. But not knowing how to spell your alleged good friend’s name tells me that Buck didn’t care enough to know how to spell Gemmel’s name. We also learned that Buck didn’t know where his good friend Gemmel lived.

During another text message exchange on April 23, 2016, Buck is discussing a party and play session and says that he’s getting ready for endorsement panels happening the next day.

We learned that aside from smoking and injecting meth, that Ed Buck smoked crack cocaine. According to Buck, he did so on May 19, 2016, with someone named Block.

On the same day, Gemmel Moore texted Ed Buck that he felt dumb for slamming a second time and that the $500 is what made him try. He said, “money is the root of all evil.”

The following day, Buck got mad at Gemmel for not wanting to slam and for him having the audacity to ask him what he was injecting into him. Gemmel said that he had a right to know what was going into his body.

Ed Buck responded, “asking questions is one thing and interrogation is another.”

In the same conversation, Buck told Gemmel to trust him to which Gemmel said that he couldn’t trust anyone who gave him drugs.

We learned through text messages between Gemmel Moore and Ed Buck that he didn’t always pay him when he said he would and that Ed Buck referred to him as “boy.”

On July 3, 2016, Gemmel Moore texted Ed Buck that he’d nearly overdosed at Buck’s and he was going to Texas ASAP.

Only July 29, 2016, Buck told Gemmel Moore he had knee surgery and asked Gemmel if he wanted to come over and smoke some meth with him.

On August 6, 2016, Gemmel Moore told Ed Buck that he was in the hospital; with a sinus infection to which Buck offered him to come over and get high.

Gemmel Moore sent the following text message of Ed Buck on August 16, 2016.

GEMMEL MOORE: I really do need to stay away from you…all ur concerned about is Getting [sic] me drugged.. [sic] I have a friend mad at me becuz [sic] he slammed and left his girl to come back with $50.

Gemmel Moore complained to Ed Buck about having to swallow dozens of Viagra pills, spending 18 hours with him getting high, and getting paid less than $200.

He told Buck that slamming wasn’t worth it.

All in all, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recovered over 2400 videos on Buck’s computers, cell phones, and iCloud account. Of the 2400, over 1500 contained instances of drug use.

The videos presented in court Friday included:

  • Ed Buck and/or his victims smoking meth from a pipe with rubber tubing while wearing black leather head hood mask or blcakface masks
  • Ed Buck directing the men on how he wanted them to smoke meth

In one such video, Ed Buck told a Black man to flare his nostrils and open his eyes really wide while facing the camera and blowing smoke from a meth pipe.

  • Ed Buck telling the men to smoke more meth
  • Videos of men telling Ed Buck they hit their limit only Buck to tell them to keep getting high
  •  Ed Buck discussing slamming or injecting men
  • Videos of men saying they didn’t want to slam or be injected
  • Videos of unconscious men having their penis manipulated by Ed Buck
  • Videos of men smoking meth in modified military gas masks
  • Videos of men smoking meth and blowing smoke into a tube into Buck’s genital area.

One video was shown to the jury that depicted a naked transient-looking Latinx man injecting himself with meth. It was hard to watch. You could literally see the effect the meth had on him as he was injecting himself.

We also learned that Ed Buck had videos of himself calling the Black men he preyed on and tortured the n-word and other racist derogatory names.

Sergeant Cardella testified about Ed Buck’s browser history which included over 34,000 searches for slamming.  Ed Buck often searched for slamming, party and play, and profiles on Adam4Adam.

Adam4Adam is an online dating website designed for men to meet other men “for friendship, romance, or a hot hookup”.

Buck searched for how long GHB stays in your system and spent a lot of time searching for slamming on the free porn website XXNX.com.

GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, is an illegal drug that is often manufactured in illicit laboratories and passed around at clubs and raves. Often referred to as liquid ecstasy, Georgia homeboy, G, easy lay, grievous bodily harm, and goop, GHB is generally distributed as a clear and colorless liquid or a white powder that is dissolved in liquid.

GHB is known to lower inhibitions, make a person more passive and open to suggestion, and potentially heighten libido. These methods of action on the brain and body make GHB a candidate for use as a date rape drug, often without the victim knowing they are taking it.

GHB is also a depressant drug. It can lower anxiety and may lead to drowsiness and mental confusion. In large amounts, it may cause hallucinations, aggression, and overexcitement.

The sheriff’s recovered several thousand text messages of Buck asking to party and play.

The following text exchange happened between December 24, 2018, and December 31, 2018, between Ed Buck and an unknown male.

UNKNOWN: After that G you gave me it wasn’t but 15 minutes I was out cold. What did you do to me?

ED BUCK: I bet after today you need to get super fucked up.

UNKNOWN: What happened when I was tied up and drugged? You never answered.

ED BUCK: A picture is worth a [sic]1000 words.

UNKNOWN: What happened when I was tied up?

ED BUCK: I’ve got the answer to your questions and some pictures.

ED BUCK: Yes you can make some mullah by just getting fucked up and falling over.

UNKNOWN: Can you tell me what happened last time, all BS aside?

ED BUCK: Yes, I’ll even show you pictures.

And if you thought that exchange was disturbing, it only gets worse.

The sheriff’s department discovered that while the unknown male was unconscious, Ed Buck texted another male.

ED BUCK: He’s about passed out. It’d be cool to have you come over and jerk him off.

The sheriff’s department also presented evidence that when the young men Ed Buck targeted via Adam4Adam told him they didn’t do drugs he’d stop speaking to them.

When the prosecution finished their direct examination of Sergeant Cardella and their presentation of all of those horrific videos and text exchanges, it was the defense’s turn to cross-examine.

“Nothing from the defense Your Honor,” was all Christopher Darden had to say.

I mean really, what was he going to say? That’s not my client smoking crack.  That’s not my client smoking meth. That’s not my client sexually assaulting unconscious men.  That’s not my client using the n-word and other racist derogatory language.

It’s at this point we have our first break and I made a beeline to the restroom. I needed to cry and cry I did.  That was a brutal first two hours. I really didn’t want to go back into the courtroom.

Ed Buck was drugging, sexually assaulting, and torturing these men. Men that only dealt with Ed Buck because they were homeless and needed money and didn’t want to be on the street.  We learned that a lot of these men weren’t even into meth or drugs and only did it because, in order to get paid from Ed Buck, you have to do the drugs.

Gemmel Moore told us in his journal that Ed Buck was the first person to give him meth.

In his journal, Moore wrote, “I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” a December entry reads. “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”

Again, former DA Jackie Lacey needs to be criminally charged for sitting on this and not doing anything to stop Ed Buck sooner.

Ed Buck is Jeffrey Dahmer 2.0. Quote me.

Dan Morgan, Cellebrite Expert

Following Sergeant Cardella, the prosecution gave us a break from the horror we’d just gone through and questioned Dan Morgan, a Cellebrite expert who’d spend 34 years with the sheriff’s department, many of which were in the Southern California High Tech Task Force.

The task force – primarily comprised of investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department – is part of California’s High Technology Theft Apprehension and Prosecution Program. The program helps law enforcement officials combat computer-related crimes such as network intrusions, computer hacking, counterfeiting and piracy, and telecommunications fraud. The task force has also trained 200 law enforcement professionals in cybercrime investigations.

John Mundell, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

John Mundell testified that he executed the search warrant Ed Buck’s digital devices and presented the extraction report–report with what was on all of the devices.

Matthew Quon, Senior Criminalist

Matthew Quon testified that he examined a solid crystalline substance seized from Ed Buck’s apartment on the evening of Gemmel Moore’s death and determined that it consisted of 1.7 grams of methamphetamine.  

Danielle Van Cleve, Senior Criminalist

Senior Criminalist Danielle Van Cleve testified that she performed the toxicology screens for Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean. For Gemmel Moore, the results showed 3.9 ug/mL methamphetamine in the femoral blood and 0.13 ug/mL amphetamine and 4.4 ug/mL methamphetamine in the heart blood.  For Timothy Dean, the results showed 0.003 ug/mL amphetamine and 1.6 ug/mL methamphetamine in the femoral blood; and 0.06 ug/mL amphetamine and 4.3 ug/mL methamphetamine in the heart blood.  

Dr. Kevin Young, Medical Examiner 

Medical Examiner Kevin Young testified regarding the autopsy of Gemmel Moore.  Specifically, testified that the immediate cause of death for Moore was methamphetamine use and that Moore had puncture wounds in his elbow pits, including a recent puncture mark on the left side. 

On cross-examination, Ludlow Creary II suggested through questioning that the meth found in Gemmel’s body was ingested and not injected into him days before and he just happened to die at his client’s house.

But it gets worse.

Continuing in their use of HIV and AIDS as a weapon against Buck’s Black victims, the defense asked Dr. Young if Gemmel Moore had “full-blown AIDS.”

Dr. Young had testified that Gemmel Moore had Pulmonary edema.

Pulmonary edema is a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs. This fluid collects in the numerous air sacs in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. In most cases, heart problems cause pulmonary edema.

PROSECUTION: Did Mr. Moore also have Pulmonary edema? 

DR. YOUNG: Yes. 

PROSECUTION: What is Pulmonary edema? 

DR. YOUNG: Pulmonary edema is a condition where fluids leak from your blood vessels in the lungs out into the lung tissue. 

PROSECUTION: Is this something that you commonly see during autopsies?

DR. YOUNG: Yes, a majority of autopsies I do there’s Pulmonary edema, just from–just from the mechanism from dying. 

PROSECUTION: And you mentioned the mechanism for dying. How does dying cause Pulmonary edema in most cases?

DR. YOUNG: When the heart stops when you get heart failure or an arrhythmia, the heart continues to pump some blood into the lungs, but it can’t get rid of the fluid in the lungs. So he’s got a buildup of fluid in the lungs, which we see in the majority of cases. 

PROSECUTION: So Pulmonary edema is not uncommon at all, isn’t it? 

DR. YOUNG: It’s common and nonspecific.

PROSECUTION: And in your practice, have you ever seen any literature–anything to suggest that Pulmonary edema may be caused by HIV?

DR. YOUNG: No. 

Buck’s attorney’s asserted that AIDS might have caused this condition in Gemmel Moore.

Deputy Oscar Palacios

Deputy Oscar Palacios testified that he responded to the defendant’s residence on January 7, 2019, and saw Timothy Dean lying unresponsive and face up on the living room carpet.  When he arrived, he says Ed Buck was performing CPR on Dean, after which the Los Angeles County Fire paramedics relieved Bucks and began life-saving measures for approximately thirty minutes.

The prosecution then played Buck’s 911 call on the night of the death of Timothy Dean.

Deputy Palacios testified that when he arrived and went inside Buck’s apartment the floor was very messy and that there were a lot of clothes all over the living room.

DEPUTY PALACIOS: And there was a lot of–I remember–there was [sic] containers of male underwear in the living room. 

PROSECUTION: Did you notice anything specifically about the African American male that was laying on the floor? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Yes, ma’am. 

PROSECUTION: What did you notice? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: He was wearing just white underwear. 

PROSECUTION: Did you notice anything specifically about his feet? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Yes. 

PROSECUTION: What did you notice?

DEPUTY PALACIOS:  They were starting to get really light. 

PROSECUTION: And have you seen that before? In your experience as a sheriff’s deputy? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Yes. 

PROSECUTION: What does that indicate to you? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: It indicates that the person’s already past deceased.

Deputy Palacios’ testimony seemingly confirmed the paramedic’s testimony about arriving on the scene and it looked like someone had tried to clean up.

It doesn’t appear that Ed Buck called 911 immediately. Because in addition to these two testimonies, his neighbor is going to testify about a package that was hidden outside on his window ledge.  In that package, the sheriff’s department found drug and drug paraphernalia with Timothy Dean and Ed Buck’s DNA on it.

Ed Buck tried to cover his tracks and then called 911.

The jury then was shown photos of Timothy Dean deceased in Ed Buck’s apartment.

Deputy Palacios testified that he saw meth pipes, vials, and syringes.

He also testified about how Ed Buck behaved.

PROSECUTION: Did you and your partner speak to the defendant while you were on scene? Did you notice anything specific about his behavior or demeanor? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Yes, ma’am. 

PROSECUTION: What did you notice? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS: He wanted to talk about different things and he was more concerned about showing us his office and pictures. And as we tried to redirect the conversation back to trying to find the next kin he redirected the conversation back to something completely that had nothing to do with what we were there for. And that seemed unusual to us. 

PROSECUTION: Why is that? 

DEPUTY PALACIOS:  Usually when somebody passes away, you know, they’re crying or you have a need to show some sort of empathy or, you know, somebody just passed in their home. 

On cross-examination, Christopher Darden said that it wasn’t uncommon for someone to be in their underwear at 1 a.m. in the morning. 

DEFENSE: Okay. Now, when you looked over and saw Mr. Dean, one of the things that you saw were two dildos–two dildos–next to Mr. Dean. Is that right?

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Yes. 

DEFENSE: And and you saw a couple of other dildos next to Mr. Dean’s legs, correct?

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Correct. 

DEFENSE: And you saw lubricant, you said, next to Mr. Dean–or near Mr. Dean, right?

DEPUTY PALACIOS: Yes. 

DEFENSE: And did you–did you examine Mr. Dean to see whether or not Mr. Dean had tried to pleasure himself with the dildo?

Darden went on to ask Deputy Palacios if he had attempted to find out whether or not Mr. Dean and Mr. Buck shared a common fetish for one another?

WRAP UP

Court adjourned early on Friday and is expected to resume Tuesday with Coroner Investigator Brenda Shafer who will testify that she responded to Ed Buck’s apartment following Timothy Dean’s death on January 7, 2019, and she saw Dean’s body on the living room floor surrounded by clothing, sex toys, and thick clear plastic tubing that appeared to contain a white powdery substance.  She also recovered a glass pipe on the dining room table and one on the stovetop.  She then inspected Dean’s body, which was in rigor mortis. Dean was wearing two pairs of white men’s briefs with a ring secured at the base of the penis and wrapped around the scrotum.

It should be even more clear now what kind of sadistic monster Ed Buck truly is.

I reached out to the surviving victims of Ed Buck’s that I know after court because I just felt so bad. Seeing what they went through was just painful to watch. They told me and I believed them, but seeing it–it was a lot to process.

And as horrific as all of this was, it will be nothing compared to testimonies of Buck’s victims this upcoming week.

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Jasmyne Cannick is an award-winning journalist, political strategist, and popular television and radio commentator on race, politics, and social issues.

She’s been covering and chasing Ed Buck since August 2017.

You can read her previous coverage of Ed Buck, including the trial here.

Cannick founded Justice for Gemmel and All of Ed Buck’s Victims to extend her advocacy for the survivors and victims of Ed Buck beyond her journalism, leveraging both her political acumen and savviness with her community relationships.

Follow her on Twitter @Jasmyne for daily trial updates.

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