weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Judge authorizes release of search warrants in Telles investigation

Updated November 15, 2022 - 12:28 pm

A judge has granted the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s motion to access copies of all search warrants executed in the investigation into reporter Jeff German’s death.

Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 46, is accused of fatally stabbing German, 69, outside the investigative reporter’s home in September. Prosecutors have accused Telles of attacking German because of articles he had written on Telles’ conduct as an elected official.

Telles has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

During a court hearing in October, Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett-Haron granted a motion from the Review-Journal for copies of any search warrants executed during the Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation into Telles. However, only a single redacted search warrant was provided to the newspaper following the hearing.

Bennett-Haron noted during the hearing that she could “only locate one set of warrant materials in the file,” attorney Maggie McLetchie wrote in the newspaper’s subsequent motion.

During a court hearing Tuesday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly said she believes there are “at least four” search warrants that were executed.

District Judge Michelle Leavitt granted the release of all the warrants on Tuesday, and ordered another copy of the first search warrant released with fewer redactions. Leavitt said the initial copy released to the newspaper was “redacted way too much.”

“I couldn’t figure out why some of the stuff was redacted,” the judge said.

The warrant, signed by Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum, authorized detectives to search video surveillance devices from the outside of Telles’ home and to seize a pair of jeans Telles was wearing on Sept. 7, the day he was arrested.

The newspaper requested copies of all search warrants, including warrants executed at German’s house. Attorneys for Metro have indicated in court documents that detectives seized German’s personal cellphone and computers from his home after obtaining a search warrant.

Last month, Metro filed an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court challenging a preliminary injunction granted by District Judge Susan Johnson that prevents officials from searching the devices.

The Review-Journal also had filed a motion for an emergency temporary restraining order that would prevent officials from searching through any car owned by German that contains data related to his newsgathering. Johnson denied that motion, citing a lack of jurisdiction following Metro’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the high court temporarily granted a motion from the newspaper for an injunction, and ruled that Johnson did have jurisdiction to rule on the emergency temporary restraining order. State agencies have seven days from the order’s filing to respond, court records show.

The order prohibits officials from searching “any electronic or digital information that a reasonable person would understand might contain newsgathering materials, in cars Jeff German may have driven or other electronic information storage devices or documents or other papers these parties may locate and/or obtain in the future.”

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on Metro’s appeal of the first preliminary injunction granted by Johnson.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.