A Las Vegas public official is held on open murder charge in connection with the killing of an investigative journalist, sheriff says | CNN


An elected county official in Las Vegas is being charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of a veteran journalist who reported on the officer’s alleged wrongdoing, a sheriff announced Thursday – a case that Questions the freedom of the press in America.

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of Review-Journal reporter Jeff German after the reporter was stabbed to death outside his home, officials told a news conference. Echoing earlier reports, the newspaper cited Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

“This is a horrific and disturbing murder that has deeply affected Las Vegas. Every murder is tragic but the murder of a journalist is particularly distressing,” Lombardo said at a news conference on Thursday, reviewing- Expressing our condolences to German’s family, friends and colleagues in the Journal.

“We … are outraged that an aide has been murdered for reporting on an elected official. Journalists cannot perform the important work needed by our communities if they fear that the presentation of facts could lead to violent retaliation. The newspaper’s executive editor, Glenn Cook, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Telles’ court appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, online Clark County jail records show. CNN has contacted the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and TELES’ office and is working to determine his legal representation.

The German was found outside his home on Saturday morning, although police believe the murder took place the day before.

According to Captain Dory Koren of the LVMPD Homicide and Sex Crime Bureau, the suspect arrived at German’s house on Friday and went next to the house. The German soon came out and went to the side of the house, where, Koren said Thursday, investigators believe an altercation took place and the German was stabbed multiple times.

Koren said that Telles, who lost re-election in June, was identified as a person of interest in the investigation, as authorities searched for a neighborhood capture vehicle seen at Telles’ home before and after the German assassination. Surveillance footage was discovered. The vehicle, registered for Telles’ wife, was also seen at German’s home at the time of his death.

“We eventually developed video evidence to show that the vehicle, parked in front of Telles’s home, departed at around 9 a.m. on the day of the GMC Denali murder, and returned around 12 p.m. just after the murder, matching our timeline. ate,” Koren said.

Surveillance footage released over the weekend showed a suspect wearing a straw hat and orange shirt, and investigators found a matching hat during a search of Telles’ home. The cap was cut off, Koren said, as if in an attempt to hide the evidence.

Koren said investigators also found blood on a pair of bitten shoes, “likely a way of trying to destroy the evidence.” Furthermore, the DNA of Tails matches the DNA found at the crime scene, he said.

Once a positive DNA result came in, officials aimed to detain Telles “as safely as possible.”

“We were able to successfully carry out that operation yesterday and Telles was safely taken into custody,” Koren said, though he acknowledged that Telles was taken on a stretcher after suffering “self-inflicted” wounds. But was seen. He did not describe the wounds, but said they were not life-threatening.

German has been praised by those who knew him or his work as a consummate reporter who spent decades working in Las Vegas, reporting on everything from organized crime to corrupt government agencies. The mass shooting at the Las Vegas concert – the deadliest in modern U.S. history.

According to the Review-Journal, he was working on a story about Tales the week he was killed. Earlier this year, Telles was the subject of articles that detailed his office surveillance, and German reported that Telles created a hostile work environment and inappropriate relationships with an employee.

Tels denied the reports, the Review-Journal said. First elected to office in 2018, Telles lost his bid for re-election in the June Democratic primary.

Before German’s death, Tels published several online posts detailing his issues with the journalist’s reporting, including on his campaign website and a letter to German, in which he called the allegations “false” and insisted Said the reporter was “trying to drag me into the mud.”

Telles also stated that he sought legal advice in an attempt to seek legal action against the newspaper, but ultimately came to the conclusion that “it is nearly impossible to sue a newspaper like the Las Vegas Review-Journal.”

Tails also made several tweets about the Germans and their reporting.

“Waiting for lying smear piece #4 by @J GermanRJ. #onetrickpony I think he’s crazy I died by not crawling into a hole,” read Tweet of June 18in part.

A few days later, Tails tweeted“Typical bullying. Can’t criticize (sic) a pound after slinging 100 pounds of BS. Now until article #4. You’d think he’d have better things to do.”

In his own statement on Wednesday, the newspaper’s editor, Cook, said the arrest of Telles was “a great relief at once and an outcry or review-journal newsroom”.

“We thank the Las Vegas Police for their urgency and hard work and for immediately recognizing the horrific significance of Jeff’s murder. Now, hopefully, the Review-Journal, the German family and many of Jeff’s friends are a great man and a man. May the brave reporter begin the process of mourning and honoring. Godspeed: Jeff.”

According to the Committee on the Protection of Journalists, murders of journalists are rare in the United States, and murders of journalists are even more frequent in retaliation for their work. It is said that eight journalists have been murdered in the US since 1992, when the non-profit organization began keeping track, including four in a 2018 mass shooting in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland.

In a statement Thursday, Carlos Martínez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement Thursday, “Las Vegas police have been able to identify and arrest a suspect in the fatal stabbing of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. Acted swiftly.” “Authorities must ensure that all those involved in this horrific crime are identified and held accountable, and make it clear that those who target journalists will get justice.”

Rebecca Aguilar, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, said the German killing was “a reminder that everyday journalists around the world put their lives on the line to uncover the truth.”

Aguilar said in a statement, “As the Review-Journal reported, many described Jeff as a fearless reporter who was the embodiment of the First Amendment, who stood up for the downtrodden of society and spoke of right and wrong. had a strong feeling of “We must remain like Jeff, a man of courage, compassion and commitment to the truth.”

Koren said that initially, officials were focused on making sure the German’s death was not linked to the theft other than “looking into any work-related complaints or conflicts” related to his reporting.

“We knew that as an investigative reporter he had written several articles and had different allegations and statements about potential people who would be disturbed by this,” he said.

The review-journal was instrumental in providing information that helped investigators, Lombardo said on Thursday, specifically in underlining what “the Germans” were working on “before and presently.”

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles washes his car outside his home in Las Vegas on Tuesday.  Authorities issued a search warrant Wednesday at the Telles home in connection with the fatal stabbing of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German.

Lombardo said on Thursday that the German’s death was “disturbing”.

“We expect journalism to be open and transparent and watchdog for the government. And when people take the pitfalls associated with that profession upon themselves, I think it’s very important that we take a closer look at it and Address the matter appropriately,” he said, adding, “as we did in this case, the facility is attached to it.”

Arthur Kane, a reporter for the Review-Journal who worked with German, said colleagues in the German reviewing Google Maps noted a maroon SUV similar to a photo released by officers in the driveway of Tails.

“Police came downstairs and sealed off the area, started searching her home,” Kane told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday. The SUV was registered for Tails’ wife, Kane said, and the vehicle was taken by investigators.

In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing, Lombardo said on Thursday, and officials are still following up on “multiple leads” to “bedding other charges.”

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