Ed Buck, a wealthy political activist and significant donor to the Democratic party, was found guilty to charges of injecting gay men with methamphetamine – leading to the death of two and other overdoses – in exchange for sex on Tuesday.
A federal jury convicted Buck of all nine counts, and he faces a life sentence, the AP reports.
The verdict came precisely four years after one of his victims was found dead of an overdose in the activist’s West Hollywood apartment.
After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for more than four hours. Prosecutors said Buck contacted men on gay dating sites and provided drugs in exchange for various sex acts.
Buck, 66 years old, plead not guilty. His defense argued neither of the fatal overdose victims had died from meth, and many of the alleged victims were addicted to drugs.
Prosecutors said vulnerable men were exploited, as he paid them to come to his home to use drugs and engage in sex play to satisfy a fetish. Breitbart News reported that many were destitute drug users involved in sex work to support their habit.
The defense argued that all the men at Buck’s apartment were there under free will, and the two fatalities did not die from methamphetamine.
“I know this has been an arduous, lengthy and difficult process,” U.S. District Judge Christine A. Snyder told jurors after she read the verdict, according to the Los Angeles Times.
One of the prosecutors dropped to her knees and wept in the courthouse hallway after the jury was dismissed, the Times reported.
Buck had given more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and Reps, Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu (D-CA) and other causes since 2000. He was also convicted of four counts of meth distribution: keeping a drug den and two more counts of enticement to cross state lines for prostitution.
“Ed Buck will never harm anyone else,” said Joyce Jackson, a sister of one of the deceased, “and I thank God for that.”