Fight over slain reporter’s files going to Nevada high court

Oct 19, 2022, 2:22 AM | Updated: 3:16 pm
FILE - Outgoing Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, center, leaves the courtroom with ...

FILE - Outgoing Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, center, leaves the courtroom with David Lopez-Negrete, a public defender, left, after his arraignment at the Regional Justice Center, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Las Vegas. Telles, a former Democratic elected county official, is jailed awaiting completion of the police investigation and a hearing of evidence alleging that he killed Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge blocked Las Vegas police, prosecutors and defense attorneys Wednesday from accessing a slain investigative journalist’s cellphone and electronic devices over concerns about revealing the reporter’s confidential sources and notes.

Then she backed away from the case, citing an immediate appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

“I don’t think I have jurisdiction anymore,” Clark County District Judge Susan Johnson told attorneys for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, county prosecutors, defense attorneys, and lawyers representing the Las Vegas Review-Journal and dozens of media organizations. “Let’s see what the Supreme Court says.”

The judge pointed during a brief hearing to her restraining order, issued minutes earlier, and acknowledged the fast track taken on a question that all sides agree needs a state high court ruling.

Her order blocks immediate review by police of six devices that attorneys for the newspaper expect contain source names and notes compiled by reporter Jeff German before he was killed Sept. 2 in a knife attack outside his home.

Police and prosecutors want to comb the records for additional evidence that Robert “Rob” Telles, a former Democratic elected county official, fatally stabbed German in response to articles German wrote that were critical of Telles and his managerial conduct.

Telles’ court-appointed public defenders want to learn whether other people had a motive to kill German.

The police department, the Clark County district attorney’s office and Telles’ defense lawyers jointly sought the appeal.

The newspaper, backed by organizations including The Associated Press and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, maintains that police should not have the devices at all. It argues that confidential information, names and unpublished material are protected from disclosure under strict state law, federal privacy statutes and constitutional First Amendment safeguards.

Telles, 45, was Clark County public administrator, overseeing an office that handles assets of people who die without a will or family contacts. He was arrested Sept. 7 and remains jailed without bail pending a preliminary hearing on murder and other charges.

He lost his party primary for reelection in June and was stripped by a court order last month of his elected position.

Telles was suspended Wednesday from practicing law by a state high court order citing pending disciplinary proceedings against him by the State Bar of Nevada. The order noted that Telles has been charged with murder and “appears to have transferred significant funds” from his law practice trust accounts.

Authorities say surveillance video, Telles’ DNA on German’s body and evidence found at Telles’ home connect him to German’s killing.

Attorney Matthew Christian, representing the police department, said the investigation can’t be completed until detectives review all possible evidence pertinent to the case.

Johnson previously acknowledged that because it is rare for a U.S. journalist to be killed because of their work, there was little legal precedent for her to follow to allow investigators to access German’s files.

A proposal that might have had the judge appoint an independent panel to review the records collapsed because the newspaper doesn’t want Las Vegas-area investigators who may have been sources for, or the subject of, German’s work involved in the process.

German, 69, spent 44 years reporting on organized crime, government corruption, political scandals and mass shootings, first at the Las Vegas Sun and then at the Review-Journal. He was widely respected for his tenacity and confidential contacts in police, court and legal circles.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Is now the right time for your business to buy real estate?

For small businesses hoping to establish or expand their brick-and-mortar presence, it may seem like a bad time to sink cash into a commercial property purchase. Amid predictions of an upcoming recession, the Federal Reserve increased the federal funds rate for the sixth time in 2022, citing inflation risks and global conflict. Inevitably, this will […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

African continent finally to receive 1st mpox vaccines

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Africa’s top public health body says the continent is set to receive its first batch of mpox vaccines as a donation from South Korea. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday the 50,000 doses will be used first for health workers and people living in the hardest-hit areas. […]
1 day ago
People wait to bring back their weapons to the Ustaritz gendarmerie, southwestern France, Thursday,...
Associated Press

France makes push to collect heirloom weapons across country

BRUNOY, France (AP) — The pistol the elderly French woman inherited from her grandfather had once belonged to a German soldier, killed in a war fought on France’s soil in the last century. Now the woman has turned the heirloom over to police for fear that her grandchildren would stumble upon it. French authorities want […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Security meeting overshadowed by Russia’s war, ban on Lavrov

LODZ, Poland (AP) — Europe’s largest security organization, one founded to maintain peace and stability on the continent, opened a meeting Thursday with strong denunciations of Russia’s war against Ukraine, a conflict that is among the greatest challenges the body has faced in its nearly half-century of existence. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Russian FM: US, NATO directly involved in Ukraine conflict

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday accused the West of becoming directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine by supplying it with weapons and training its soldiers. Sergey Lavrov also said that Russia’s strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities and other key infrastructure that have left millions without power, heating and water were intended […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UN makes record aid appeal amid disasters, Ukraine war

BERLIN (AP) — The United Nations said Thursday that it is asking member states for a record $51.5 billion in aid funding for next year, as disasters and the ongoing war in Ukraine drive up humanitarian needs worldwide. The global body’s humanitarian office said the funds are needed to help 339 million people in 69 […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSPA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Fight over slain reporter’s files going to Nevada high court