County official charged in Las Vegas reporter's murder held without bail

FILE PHOTO: County official arrested as suspect in murder of Las Vegas reporter - media

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) -A judge in Las Vegas denied bail to Clark County's public administrator on Thursday after his arrest for the murder of an investigative reporter who had written news articles exposing complaints of wrongdoing by the official.

Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles faces one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon, according to online court records. He was placed under arrest on Wednesday, five days after Jeff German, a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was fatally stabbed outside his home.

"Telles was very upset about German's reporting about his role as public administrator," Captain Dori Koren of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told a news conference.

During a brief appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court on Thursday afternoon, Judge Elana Lee Graham ordered Telles to be held without bail, the Review-Journal reported.

Prosecutors at the hearing said German had been stabbed seven times, and the judge noted that the suspect's DNA was found under German's fingernails and on his hands, which also had defensive wounds.

Telles, who wore dark blue prison garb during the hearing, will appear in court again on Tuesday. No attorney was listed for him in court documents.

German, 69, was well known in Las Vegas for his decades of reporting on political malfeasance and organized crime in Nevada's largest city. He spent months reporting on complaints that Telles had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and oversaw an abusive workplace.

Telles has denied the accusations, saying the complaints were from disgruntled "old-timers."

Soon after German's investigation was published, Telles failed in his re-election bid, losing the Democratic primary in June. He was due to leave office in January.

"It is troublesome because it is journalist and we expect journalism to be open and transparent and a watchdog for government," Sheriff Joe Lombardo said during the news conference.

On Wednesday, Telles declined to speak to reporters outside his home following a police interview and search. He was wearing what appeared to be a hazmat suit and sandals.

He was later arrested and taken out of the house on a stretcher with self-inflicted wounds that were not life-threatening, Koren said.

The Review-Journal provided authorities with information about German's reporting that helped the investigation, the sheriff said.

Glenn Cook, the newspaper's executive editor, said German's colleagues were devastated by his killing.

"He was the gold standard of the news business," Cook said in a statement. "It's hard to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today without his many years of shining a bright light on dark places."

After the allegations against Telles emerged, Clark County revoked his access to government buildings and ordered his office staff to work remotely, spokesperson Erik Pappa said in a statement.

"The Public Administrator is an elected position and the County is reviewing its options under the law regarding Robert Telles’ current status as the Public Administrator," the statement said.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Tyler Clifford in New York, editing by Deepa Babington)