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‘I’ve certainly made mistakes’: Robert Telles gives jailhouse interview

Updated September 16, 2022 - 4:53 pm

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal during a jailhouse interview Friday but refused to answer questions about the killing of investigative reporter Jeff German, who worked for the newspaper.

“Like any other person I’ve certainly made mistakes, and I’ve just really tried to do my best, to live my life doing good for others, and I’m hoping that, again, with everything that’s rolling around in the media these days, that people really see that,” Telles said.

Telles, 45, has been held at the Clark County Detention Center since his arrest in the murder case on Sept. 7.

The Review-Journal requested an interview with Telles on the night of his arrest. The following day, the Metropolitan Police Department said Telles was “unavailable to conduct jailhouse interviews.”

Telles agreed to an interview on Friday. But when he was asked multiple direct questions about German’s killing, he said he wouldn’t talk about it because of the ongoing investigation.

Instead, Telles wanted to address his 2020 arrest on suspicion of domestic battery and resisting arrest. Telles’ wife, Mae Ismael, called 911 on March 1, 2020, to report that her husband was “going crazy” and that she and her children were scared, according to 911 calls recently obtained by the Review-Journal.

On Friday, Telles said he used to drink often and had blacked out from alcohol use before Ismael called police. He denied hurting his wife or children and said he stopped drinking after that.

“It was just me blacking out and, again, not being in control of what was going on,” he said.

The domestic charge was dismissed “per negotiations,” and Telles received a suspended 90-day sentence on the resisting charge on Sept. 30, 2020. He was required to pay a $418 fine, attend a “Corrective Thinking” class, which focuses on stress management and relationships, and stay out of trouble, records and interviews show.

Body camera footage of Telles’ arrest in 2020 showed him being hauled off by police outside his home, while Telles addressed them with slurred speech.

“You guys just want to take me down because I am a public official,” Telles said in the video. “I did not touch anybody. I didn’t hurt anybody.”

Telles said on Friday that he did not remember speaking with police outside his home. He also said he and his wife “now have a much better relationship.” Ismael has not spoken publicly about her husband’s arrests.

Prosecutors have accused Telles of “lying in wait” to kill German, who had reported extensively on the turmoil surrounding Telles’ oversight of the public administrator’s office. The reporting included allegations of bullying, favoritism, and an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

On Friday, Telles repeated his previous assertion that the allegations were false.

“I did so much to improve that office all while frankly dealing with hostility from some folks in the office,” he said. “And it’s unfortunate that that narrative somehow grew legs and ran.”

German was found stabbed to death outside his home on Sept. 3, a day after a suspect was captured on video surveillance approaching his home. Police have said that DNA found under German’s fingernails matched Telles’ DNA.

Police who searched Telles’ home also found bloody shoes and a cut-up straw hat resembling the one worn by the suspect, according to Telles’ arrest report.

Officials have said Telles was suffering from superficial, self-inflicted cuts on his arms when he was arrested and loaded into an ambulance on Sept. 7. On Friday, Telles would not discuss the injuries.

During the interview, Telles said he didn’t know if he would resign as public administrator. He lost his re-election bid in the June primary, but his term runs through the end of the year.

Telles is due to return to court on Tuesday.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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