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Christopher Darden, former O.J. prosecutor, defending Ed Buck in fatal drug cases

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Ed Buck, seen in court in September, is accused of supplying two men with fatal drug overdoses.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Christopher Darden, best known for prosecuting O.J. Simpson, is now representing Ed Buck, the Democratic donor accused of supplying fatal doses of narcotics to two men who died in his West Hollywood apartment.

According to a 22-page complaint unsealed in September, Buck, 65, lured poor and vulnerable men to his apartment with promises of “party and play” — sex and drug use in exchange for money — then injected them with doses of methamphetamine that led 10 of them to overdose, two fatally.

Darden, in a brief phone conversation, confirmed he was representing Buck. “That’s all I can say today,” he said. “I haven’t received any discovery yet, so that’s all I can say.” Court records show he replaced Buck’s deputy public defender, Claire Simonich, on Dec. 5.

Buck was indicted in October on two counts of distributing methamphetamine resulting in a death and three counts of distributing methamphetamine. He has pleaded not guilty. He is also charged in state court with battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, and operating a drug house.

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The source of Buck’s money, which he doled out over the years to a number of Los Angeles-area politicians, has remained a mystery. Although Buck was initially assigned a public defender, Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh ordered him to pay $500 per month for “legal representation,” according to a summary of his initial appearance in September. Buck was denied bail and is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. His trial — should there be one — has been delayed until August at the earliest, court records show.

Darden recently represented Eric Holder, the man charged with killing Nipsey Hussle. He withdrew from the case in May, citing threats to him and his family.


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