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By Dennis Romero
LOS ANGELES — Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., says that he’s donating campaign cash from prominent Democratic Party contributor Ed Buck after a second death was reported at his apartment in as many years.
Lieu, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, said in a statement dated Tuesday that he would donate $18,500 in contributions from Buck to African-American and LGBTQ nonprofits such as the NAACP and Lambda Legal.
“I am deeply disturbed by the latest revelations of a second death by overdose at the home of Ed Buck,” Lieu said in a statement. “While we await the results of the law enforcement investigation, I am going to donate the contributions I have received from Mr. Buck to my federal campaign over the years.”
The deceased was described by Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, as a 55-year-old longtime friend who showed up at Buck’s home in West Hollywood “intoxicated” on Sunday or Monday.
Asked what kind of substance might have been involved, Amster said, “The behavior that was described seemed like it might have been more than methamphetamine.”
Meth was listed as an “immediate cause” in the 2017 death of Gemmel Moore, who would have been 29 next week. His body was found at Buck’s apartment on July 27, 2017.
Buck, who first made political headlines in the the 1980s when he led the successful drive to impeach Republican Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham, has steadfastly denied any culpability in Moore’s death, and the same can now be said of the new case.
“Ed really didn’t want him to come over,” Amster said. “He was insistent and came over and brought his emotional issues over, and he was intoxicated and he died. Ed had nothing to with his death.”
The death was reported at 1:05 a.m. (4:05 a.m. ET) Monday, when someone called 911, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Charles Moore said.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating, and they have launched “a secondary review” of Moore’s death, according to a statement. Seymour said his client welcomed a second look at Moore’s death because the conclusion “is still going to be what it is.”
Coroner’s investigators initially described Moore’s death as “accidental,” and homicide detectives did not open a case until nearly two months later, after his mother, LaTisha Nixon, made waves with the media by questioning Buck’s behavior.
She told authorities that Buck had once tied up her son and that she suspected that he “may have harmed the decedent,” according to the coroner’s report on his death.
However, after homicide investigators sent their file to the district attorney’s office, prosecutors saw no case. The identity of the victim in Monday’s death was not released; the cause was still under investigation.
“As with the previous incident, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office was intimately involved in reviewing the facts of the case, and will be so in this case as well,” according to the sheriff’s statement, which was issued Monday.