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‘Massive amounts of data’ could lead to delay in Telles trial

Updated February 21, 2024 - 7:11 pm

The murder trial for a former elected official accused of killing Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German is scheduled to begin next month, but attorneys may still push back the case.

Robert Telles, the former Clark County public administrator, appeared in court for a status check on Wednesday. His defense attorney, Robert Draskovich, said Telles is eager for his trial, but employees and lawyers with the Review-Journal are still reviewing information on German’s electronic devices.

Telles is accused of fatally stabbing German outside of the reporter’s home on Sept. 2, 2022, because Telles was angry over articles German had written about his conduct as an elected official.

Police seized multiple computers and German’s phone from the crime scene when his body was found. The newspaper entered a lengthy legal fight with police and the district attorney’s office to prevent officials from searching the devices, which may contain information about German’s confidential sources.

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in October that the state’s shield law, which protects journalists from forcibly revealing sources, applies to German’s devices after his death.

Attorneys have reached an agreement where newspaper employees, instead of a third-party team, will review the material to determine if any information is confidential. Attorney Ashley Kissinger, who represents the news organization, said during Wednesday’s court hearing that the newspaper has received a “massive amount of data,” equivalent to thousands of boxes of documents.

Kissinger said German’s phone contains a “significant amount of privileged material,” some of which the newspaper is willing to turn over to officials. But other information contains “identifying information about confidential sources.”

She said it was unclear how long it would take to review the rest of German’s devices.

“But we can confidently say it’s not going to be in time for the trial,” she said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly said that prosecutors would be able to move forward with the trial without receiving all of the information on German’s devices. But prosecutors are also concerned about providing Telles with all of the information available to him that could potentially help his defense, which would prevent further issues if he were to be convicted and appeal the case.

“We want him to have what he’s constitutional required to prior to trial,” Weckerly said.

Draskovich said he would want to see the information on the devices, which could reveal “other individuals who may have a motive to do Mr. German in.” But Draskovich said he wanted to speak with Telles outside of court to determine if Telles wants to move forward with the trial regardless.

A status check in the case is set for Feb. 27, when attorneys may determine if the upcoming trial will be postponed.

Telles, who spent more than a year acting as his own lawyer before hiring Draskovich,has pleaded not guilty and has maintained that he was the victim of police misconduct during the investigation. He has also alleged he was framed for German’s slaying by a local real estate firm, which has denied the accusation.

Prosecutors have alleged that the evidence against Telles is “overwhelming,” including that his DNA was found underneath German’s fingernails.

Telles’ trial is currently scheduled for March 18.

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

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