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Judge denies request for evidentiary hearing for murder suspect Robert Telles

Updated June 6, 2024 - 10:10 pm

Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles appeared in court again on Thursday, as his murder trial inches closer.

Telles is accused of killing Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German in September 2022 over articles German had written about Telles’ conduct as an elected official. His trial is scheduled for early August.

During Thursday’s hearing, District Judge Michelle Leavitt dismissed a renewed motion from Telles to suppress search warrants used during the investigation, denying his request for an evidentiary hearing.

Telles’ defense attorney, Robert Draskovich, wrote in the motion that the warrants should be discarded because when authoring the warrants, a detective used statements “that are false or misleading and omit important clarifying information.”

Draskovich also argued that the detective unreasonably relied on anonymous tips when applying for the warrant and included a report from an expert on police procedures who agreed that the search warrants should not have been issued.

“This isn’t newly produced information, this is just a retired police officer from California who shares the same opinion as Mr. Telles,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Hamner argued Thursday.

After the motion was dismissed, Draskovich told the judge that he wanted to file an affidavit from Telles under seal regarding Telles’ financial status. Draskovich told reporters after the hearing that Telles wanted to request money from the court to help pay for “ancillary services,” such as experts and travel costs for witnesses, and that Telles wanted the affidavit filed under seal.

“His resources are exhausted,” Draskovich said, adding that he is not asking for any money for attorney fees.

Leavitt did not say if she would allow the documents to be filed under seal.

German was found fatally stabbed outside his home on Sept. 3, 2022. Prosecutors have pointed to “overwhelming evidence” against Telles, including his DNA found underneath German’s fingernails.

Investigators have also alleged that Telles’ car matched the description of a vehicle driven by the suspect and that clothing worn by the suspect was found in Telles’ home.

Telles has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and has alleged he was framed for the killing.

Police also seized German’s phone and several other personal devices from his home after his death. The Review-Journal entered a lengthy legal fight to prevent authorities from reviewing the information, which could contain confidential reporting information, and the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in October that the devices are protected by the state’s shield law.

The Review-Journal is continuing to search the devices. Of all of German’s personal devices that were seized, attorneys agreed to only search his cellphone and one laptop.

“We cannot even estimate when that laptop is going to be done,” said attorney Joel Tasca, who represents the Review-Journal.

Attorneys discussed the possibility of Telles’ trial being delayed for a week or two, but the judge did not officially move the date.

Another status check in the case is set for June 18.

Telles is also facing new legal trouble after employees with the Clark County public administrator’s office filed a federal lawsuit late last month alleging Telles created a hostile, retaliatory and discriminatory work environment before his arrest. The lawsuit alleged that Telles discriminated against current Public Administrator Rita Reid because of her age and retaliated against other employees when they filed complaints or failed to reciprocate his alleged sexual advances.

Telles is representing himself in the lawsuit, court records show. He filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Monday, denying the allegations and arguing that the complaint was filed “in an effort to prejudice Telles with prospective jurors in his impending criminal trial.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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