Infamous criminal defendant and Democratic Party donor Ed Buck has a new attorney: Christopher Darden, who was one of the prosecutors in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.
Darden confirmed that he was indeed representing Buck in a Wednesday report.
“That’s all I can say today,” he told The Los Angeles Times in what was described as a short phone interview. “I haven’t received any discovery yet, so that’s all I can say.”
Federal records reviewed by Law&Crime show that he stepped in for federal public defender Claire M. Simonich, effective December 5.
The Buck situation is yet another fraught case for Darden. This defendant is charged in federal court on charges of distribution of controlled substances, and distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. Death follows Buck, a prolific and wealthy donor to Democratic candidates. Gemmel Moore, 26, died from a meth overdose at Buck’s home in 2017. The same thing happened to Timothy Dean, 55, in January 2019.
The case landed on a cultural fissure. Moore and Dean were black gay men. Buck is a white gay man. (Darden is black.) The deaths fueled protests from people who argued authorities were failing to prosecute Buck. That dynamic changed in September, when the defendant was charged after a third man overdosed (but survived) at his home. Buck is also being prosecuted in California state court for battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, and operating a drug house.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office called him a “violent, dangerous sexual predator” in a motion arguing for a $4 million bail. They argued he preyed on men who were vulnerable from addiction and homeless.
Buck has denied wrongdoing through another attorney Seymour Amster, who claimed the defendant actually didn’t want Dean to come over.
[Screengrab via KABC]