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Prominent Democratic Party donor Ed Buck appears in court, Sept. 19. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Democratic megadonor Ed Buck was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges concerning 2 drug overdose deaths in his West Hollywood home and allegations that he gave methamphetamine to 3 other men.

The big picture: Buck was charged last month with maintaining a drug house after a third man overdosed in his apartment. He survived. Buck was charged days later over the 2017 death of Gemmel Moore, NBC notes. An indictment first obtained by Fox 11 Los Angeles shows Buck now also faces charges over the death of Timothy Dean in January.

  • The deaths of the 2 African American men at Buck's apartment were previously ruled accidental. 50 civil rights groups and the Los Angeles LGBT Center urged police in January to investigate reports that Buck had a history of bringing gay black men to his apartment to allegedly inject them with crystal meth for sexual gratification.
  • His defense lawyer denies the allegations, the New York Times reports.

Background: Buck was a prominent LGBTQ activist in California. He's donated thousands of dollars to local Democrats, former President Obama, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and animal rights causes.

Read the indictment:

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.