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8 Sep, 2022 21:01

American politician arrested over journalist's murder

A Democrat official in Las Vegas is accused of fatally stabbing a reporter whose story caused him to lose an election
American politician arrested over journalist's murder

A county official in Las Vegas, Nevada is facing murder charges after he was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of stabbing to death a journalist whose critical reporting may have cost him re-election. Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with the killing of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. 

Clark County accounts for about two thirds of Nevada’s population of three million. Telles, 45, is a Democrat whose office oversees the estates of county residents who have died. He placed third in the party primary in June, after a Review-Journal investigative report written by German revealed complaints about his behavior.

Police in tactical gear surrounded Telles at his home on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after he was spotted entering the premises wearing a hazmat protective suit. He was wheeled out of the building on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance about four hours later. 

German, 69, was found dead near his home on Saturday. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said he was murdered the evening before. Surveillance footage and evidence recovered at the scene reportedly pointed to Telles, who already had a history of public hostility towards the journalist.

In May, German reported that current and former employees of the public administrator’s office had accused Telles of fueling a “hostile work environment,” bullying, favoritism, and having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, estate coordinator Roberta Lee-Kennett. Though Telles denied the accusations, coworkers had secretly videotaped him and Lee-Kennett in the back of her car in a parking garage. 

The revelations came from a 19-page retaliation complaint against Telles, filed by estate coordinator Aleisha Goodwin with the county Office of Diversity. At the time of his death, German was working on a follow-up story, and had requested the emails and texts between Telles and Lee-Kennett, as well as two other people.

“We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official,”  said Glenn Cook, the paper’s executive editor. “Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”

Cook called German, who had been a journalist for 40 years – 12 of them at the Review-Journal – a “great man and a brave reporter” who will be mourned by family and many friends.