I have published multiple reports on the arrest of Clark County’s Democrat Public Administrator Robert Telles for the murder of investigative journalist Jeff German. I’ve covered the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation and search of Telles’ property, the subsequent arrest, Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s formal announcement of the arrest and press conference, and Telles’ initial court appearance.
I have aimed to do this reporting without conflating or noting the relevant political undercurrents for the benefit of my own community in Las Vegas, which is seeking answers in an unsettling moment of grief and shock. But, I am not a criminal justice reporter. I am a political writer, and RedState’s readers want to understand more than the cut-and-dried facts of this case. It will likely not come as a surprise that there is a partisan implication in how Nevada’s public officials are responding to this case.
Firstly, Jeff German as a well-known, respected, and tenacious journalist, was memorialized by Nevada’s top elected officials after his passing, including posts from official state accounts. Since it has been discovered that the accused murderer, Telles, is a sitting Democrat public official, many of the state’s Democrat elected leaders have been mum. They were heartbroken about German’s murder but failed to celebrate that the crime was swiftly solved and the accused murderer was brought to face justice.
Case in point is Democrat Governor Steve Sisolak, who’s in the midst of a tight re-election race against GOP nominee and current Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. Sisolak posted condolences from his official Twitter account upon the news of German’s murder.
This is a tragic loss for our community – @JGermanRJ was tough but fair and a great mentor to young reporters both at the @LasVegasSun and the @reviewjournal. Kathy and I are sending our love to Jeff’s friends, family and loved ones. https://t.co/SWjtAbC8yP
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 4, 2022
Sisolak made a statement from a campaign event Wednesday as an arrest warrant for Telles was being issued — many hours after LVMPD executed a search warrant at Telles’ home and the story went national (at least via Fox news). What the Governor had to say as a current elected official in his state was being investigated and would soon be arrested for murder was:
“I don’t know what’s behind it. There are a lot of rumors out there.”
Rumors? Was law enforcement basing their investigation, application for a search warrant, and subsequent arrest on rumors, or on timelines, descriptions, video surveillance, motive, and ultimately DNA evidence?
I asked @GovSisolak about the Review Journal's investigative reporter Jeff German, who was murdered outside his home over the weekend.
"They don't make journalists like him anymore. He took the tough stories. It's a real tragedy to see that happen in our community." pic.twitter.com/rMNKXggqBg
— Brett Forrest (@brettforrest89) September 8, 2022
Gov. Sisolak is the Chief Executive of the State of Nevada. His role is to carry out the laws enacted by the legislature, including the Departments of Public Safety, Personnel, and Corrections. It’s hard to stomach his disconnect from the happenings in law enforcement as our community watched a real-time murder investigation focused on a sitting public official in his own party. This all happened in the largest and state’s most powerful county of Clark. Sisolak was Clark County Commissioner ahead of becoming Governor. Not only is the situation squarely in his executive purview and backyard, but Telles was also an appointee of Sisolak’s. In late 2019, Governor Sisolak appointed Telles to the state’s newly created Board of Indigent Defense Services.
While Clark County issued a statement saying they were exploring their legal options to remove Telles from his elected position, nothing has been addressed regarding the appointed position he holds at the state level by any agency or the Governor. The Governor has not celebrated the work of LVMPD investigators and officers who risk their safety apprehending murder suspects, because any extension of appreciation for the well-done public service could cost him points in the polls. The police efforts will be ignored by the top executive.
I have previously written about problems at the Athletic Commission, which, under another one of Sisolak’s appointees (and a major Democrat donor) was turned into a partisan kangaroo court as a way of targeting Sheriff Lombardo as a political opponent.
On Thursday, after Telles’ arrest, booking, LVMPD’s formal announcement, and the initial court appearance, Sisolak made a statement to a Las Vegas Sun journalist, although it is not reflected in any official state publishing I can find at this time. Sisolak said:
“No matter who is responsible – elected official or not – they should be held accountable for their actions.”
Statement from Nevada @GovSisolak about developments in the Jeff German homicide investigation: “No matter who is responsible – elected official or not – they should be held accountable for their actions,” he said. @LasVegasSun pic.twitter.com/LQV8O4pf1x
— Casey Harrison (@Casey_Harrison1) September 8, 2022
These are really softball responses from Sisolak given the gravity of what happened. The act of a public official murdering an investigative journalist who published unfavorable information about them should be rebuked as an act of domestic terrorism and as the threat to democracy it is, the type of action everyone has been on high alert about in recent weeks. Instead, Sisolak calls it a “sudden killing” rather than a murder. A “sudden killing” is what happens in a fatal car accident.
I know that our small community of journalists in Nevada are still feeling the pain of Jeff German's sudden killing. To all our Nevada journalists, please stay safe, take care of yourself, and know I've got your back.
— Steve Sisolak (@SteveSisolak) September 8, 2022
On Thursday evening, Sisolak tweeted from his personal/campaign account that he has the backs of local journalists.
“I know that our small community of journalists in Nevada are still feeling the pain of Jeff German’s sudden killing. To all of our Nevada journalists, please stay safe, take care of yourself; and know I’ve got your back.”
No, he didn’t have their backs. He played ignorant regarding police investigations and dismissed what was happening as “rumors going around,” even though Nevada journalists — German’s colleagues at the Las Vegas Review-Journal — played an integral role in solving the case.
He still hasn’t admitted or addressed that he appointed Telles to the Board of Indigent Defense Services. He will not thank law enforcement for their quick work because he is hyper-partisan — the same reason he won’t call an act of terrorism anything but a “sudden killing.” It was a premeditated killing, Steve. Your appointee, Robert Telles, had a disguise and gloves when he carried out the murder. He canvassed the area and lured his victim out of his home. Gov. Sisolak has your back until one of his appointees murders you for political reasons, and then he has softball answers, feigns ignorance, ignores his own appointments to state boards, and won’t recognize the work of law enforcement all for his own lust for grips on continued power. Vote carefully, Nevada.