Jailed ex-politician charged with murder of Vegas journalist

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Las Vegas-area politician has been charged with murder – which carries the possibility of the death penalty – for the killing of a veteran investigative journalist who wrote articles criticizing him and his leadership.

Robert “Rob” Telles, 45, was charged Thursday and will face charges next Wednesday in Clark County District Court, according to court documents.

One of Telles’ court-appointed attorneys, Edward Kane, declined to comment on the charges, a move by prosecutors that means Telles will not face a preliminary hearing scheduled for next week.

Telles, 45, a Democrat, lost his party primary in June and was stripped by court order of his position as Clark County Administrator, who heads the office that manages the assets of people who die without a will or family contacts.

The state Supreme Court has suspended Telles’s license to practice law pending an investigation by the Nevada Attorney’s Office into allegations that he embezzled client funds.

He was arrested on September 7, a few days after the September 2 stabbing of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German outside German’s home. Telles is being held without bail in the Clark County Jail.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he will decide whether Telles faces the death penalty in the coming weeks.

Prosecutors have called the evidence against Telles overwhelming, including DNA believed to be from Telles found under German’s fingernails; Video showing a man believed to be Telles walking near German’s house; and a vehicle believed to be Telles in the area.

German, 69, was widely respected for his tenacity, and his colleagues said he was working on follow-up reports on Telles and the state administration office when he was killed.

A separate case is pending in the state Supreme Court over concerns over the disclosure of German’s confidential sources and notes.

A judge has issued an injunction barring police from accessing the records that police, prosecutors and Telles’ defense attorneys say they want to examine for additional evidence — including the possibility that someone other than Telles had a motive to commit German to German kill.

The review journal, supported by dozens of media organizations, argues that the government should not be able to access German mobile phones and electronic devices.

The newspaper cites Nevada’s so-called “News Shield Law,” which is among the strictest in the country, along with the Federal Privacy Protection Act and First Amendment safeguards.

The Review Journal on Friday reported that Telles was assigned two assistant Clark County attorneys at public expense, despite telling the court last month that he and his wife were making $20,500 a month prior to his arrest; and that he owns five rental homes in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Property records show the couple also owns a Las Vegas home with a taxable value of more than $320,000.

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