LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — With a crucial issue yet to be decided by the state Supreme Court, a Nevada judge Wednesday postponed a murder trial of a former Las Vegas-area elected official accused of killing a veteran investigative journalist who wrote articles criticizing him and his office.
Robert “Rob” Telles’ new trial date has been pushed back to Nov. 6 after Damian Sheets, the former Democratic District Administrator’s new defense attorney, told a Las Vegas judge he was still gathering information on the case and not on one Process prepared since April.
“This includes certain pieces of evidence that are currently being disputed by various agencies,” Sheets said in an email to The Associated Press after a hearing before Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt.
Leavitt ruled Jan. 25 that it was up to the Nevada Supreme Court to decide whether a thorough examination by Las Vegas homicide detectives of the cell phone and computer of slain Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German revealed confidential notes and sources inappropriate would disclose.
Another state judge issued an order Oct. 19 barring Telles police, prosecutors and attorneys from searching the records for additional evidence that Telles fatally stabbed German in response to articles German wrote.
Days later, a grand jury indicted Telles with murder with a gun of a victim who was 60 years of age or older.
The state Supreme Court has not scheduled a hearing or indicated when a decision will be made.
The newspaper argues that names and unpublished material that may be on German devices are protected from disclosure under the First Amendment and Nevada state law.
Lawyers for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department say detectives cannot complete the investigation into German’s Sept. 2 murder without reviewing German’s records.
Telles, 46, remains locked up in Las Vegas without bail. At trial, he faced life in prison without parole after Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson ruled that no qualifying aggravating factors made Telles’ trial a major case.
Telles served one tenure as chief of the county office that manages the assets of people who die without a will or family contacts. He lost the Democratic Party primary in June, weeks after German wrote about “turmoil and internal discord” in the Telles-led office.
The 69-year-old German spent more than 40 years as a reporter covering courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime in Las Vegas. He joined Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades with rival Las Vegas Sun.
Prosecutors say the evidence gathered against Telles so far is overwhelming, including DNA believed to be from Telles found under German’s fingernails.
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