After initially being ruled as an accidental drug overdose, the death of a male escort in the West Hollywood home of a well-known Democratic Party donor last year is now being investigated as a possible homicide.
On July 27, Gemmel Moore, 26, was discovered by police inside the apartment of Ed Buck, 63, a high-profile Democratic contributor. Buck has donated more than $500,000 to Democrats including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and other state and local organizations in California.
Moore’s death was ruled as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. The family and friends of Moore disputed the finding, resulting in an Aug. 14 announcement by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Bureau that they would investigate the case for criminal activity.
According to Fox News, investigators want to conclude the investigation, but they have had difficulty getting certain witnesses to schedule interviews.
“We should have all the information, so we can make a good evaluation of everything that transpired to see if there’s any criminal culpability,” said Lt. Joe Mendoza, a spokesman for the homicide bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
Mendoza noted that investigators have interviewed “numerous” witnesses regarding their interactions with Buck, but additional interviews with other witnesses are needed.
“We don’t want to move forward with anything else without every single piece of information,” said Mendoza, who noted that investigators have coordinated with the district attorney’s office to grant immunity to witnesses for unrelated minor crimes, allowing them to speak freely regarding Buck. “We’re just in a holding pattern until we can get those people interviewed.”
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, claims that Buck is innocent of wrongdoing.
“There’s nothing there. As we always stated, this was an accidental overdose that Ed Buck had nothing to do with and it’s a tragedy,” Amster said. “The coroner has not changed his opinion from an accidental death. Until that happens, and that’s not going to happen, we’re done.”
Once the homicide investigation concludes, detectives will determine whether the findings should be submitted to a district attorney or brought before a grand jury. “I think a detective would probably present it to a DA, but a grand jury is not out of play either,” said Mendoza.
According to the July 31 coroner’s report, detectives found drugs and an array of paraphernalia in Buck’s apartment.
Of interest in the investigation is a journal apparently kept by Moore which was discovered among his belongings. In it, Moore wrote about his drug use and his interactions with Buck.
“I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” read a December entry. “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 …”
The final entry in Moore’s journal, dated Dec. 3, 2016, read, “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”
Jasmyne Cannick, an advocate for Moore’s family, claims that a number of gay black men have admitted that Buck invited them to his house, then paid them several hundred dollars to take drugs.
Amster contended that Moore and Buck were “friends” and that Buck was “legitimately trying to help” Moore.
“These are merely accusations,” Amster said. “This situation has turned into an attack on Mr. Buck’s personal life.”