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A federal judge has ruled that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies acted properly when they seized drugs and other evidence from the West Hollywood home of Democratic donor Ed Buck after a man was found dead there in 2017.

The ruling raises new questions about why L.A. County prosecutors initially declined to charge Buck with a crime and then belatedly did so two years later after federal prosecutors built a case against him.

Buck, who is awaiting trial on federal drug charges stemming in part from the man’s drug overdose, asked U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder to bar prosecutors from using as evidence syringes, drug paraphernalia and nearly two grams of methamphetamine deputies discovered in what Buck called an illegal search of his apartment.

Snyder denied the request. In a ruling Wednesday, she wrote that Buck effectively invited law enforcement into his home when he called 911 to report the overdose of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore during a “party and play” sexual encounter. The deputies’ presence was lawful and the drug evidence was “in plain view,” she found, so prosecutors are free to use it in their case against Buck.

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