A Las Vegas official who is accused of fatally stabbing a journalist who exposed his martial affair has been charged with murder and could lose his $130,000 salary.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, was arraigned on Tuesday, officially being charged with the ‘unlawful, heinous, senseless murder of [Las Vegas Review-Journal] reporter Jeff German.’
Telles, who has not publicly denied the murder, will be represented by a public defender. He will also continue to be held without bail.
German, 69, was found stabbed to death outside his home on September 3, a day after a straw hat-wearing suspect was found on surveillance footage near the journalist’s home.
German – who worked in Sin City for most of his career – died of ‘multiple sharp force injuries’ in a homicide, the Clark County Office of the Coroner Medical Examiner said earlier this month.
His death came after a series of articles German published, accusing him of having an affair with staffer Roberta Lee-Kennett, 45, and for facilitating a toxic workplace.
Telles has denied these accusations.
Prosecutors alleged that the public official blamed German for ruining his career and marriage, according to the New York Daily News.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, was arraigned on Tuesday, officially being charged with the ‘unlawful, heinous, senseless murder of [Las Vegas Review-Journal] reporter Jeff German’
‘The Clark County District Attorney, on behalf of the state of Nevada, has officially filed a criminal complaint charging you with a crime of murder,’ Judge William D. Jansen (pictured) said. He also informed Telles he would continue to be held without bail
When police searched Telles’ home, they found bloodied shoes and a cut up straw hat, similar to the one seen on the suspect in the surveillance footage.
Telles’ car – a red GMC – was also found to match the vehicle seen on surveillance. Reporters also stalked the public official’s home and found him washing his car after the incident.
Telles was arrested on September 7 after DNA evidence found under German’s fingernails allegedly matched his.
When Telles was arrested, he reportedly had self-inflicted cuts on his arms.
An arrest report obtained by DailyMail.com shows that he barricaded himself inside his home, made suicidal statements and slashed his arms with a knife when SWAT teams arrived to arrest him.
He was also suspected of taking drugs in the moments before he was cuffed, forcing officers to take him to the hospital before he was booked into the county jail.
Prosecutors have accused the public official of ‘lying in wait’ to kill the journalist, who had extensively reported on the turmoil in Telles’ office, including an alleged inappropriate relationship with Lee-Kennett.
His affair was revealed after German published a video of him exiting a vehicle with his supposed lover.
German was found stabbed to death outside his home on September 3 after he extensively reported on Telles’ public office and allegedly inappropriate relationship with a staffer
Surveillance footage showed a suspect wearing gray shoes and a straw hat, which were later found at Telles’ home
Lee-Kennett left the backseat of the car at the same time as the official, and can be seen hoisting her skirt down.
He did admit to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that there was ‘hostility’ in the office, despite his efforts ‘to improve that office,’ he claimed.
‘It’s unfortunate that that narrative somehow grew legs and ran,’ he said.
DailyMail.com previously revealed Telles had been railing against German for months – including in an angry series of messages on social media in which he accused him of rifling through his trash and writing ‘lying smear pieces’ about him.
His colleagues at the Review-Journal helped to track down the suspected killer when they staked out the suspects home, after recalling the tweets sent by Telles to German.
Telles lashed out at German in a series of public Twitter posts, accusing the reporter of preparing ‘lying smear piece #4 by Jeff German, #onetrickpony I think he’s mad that I haven’t crawled into a hole and died.’
In a second post he added: ‘Wife hears rustling in the trash* Her: “Honey, is there a wild animal in the trash?”
‘Me: “No, dear. Look like it’s Jeff German going through our trash for his 4th story on me.” Oh, Jeff…’
In addition, District Attorney Steve Wolfson told KTNV that his office is working to have Telles removed from his position because he is ‘unable to do his job.’
Prosecutors have accused the public official of ‘lying in wait’ to kill the journalist, who had extensively reported on the turmoil in Telles’ office, including an alleged inappropriate relationship with Roberta Lee-Kennett, 45
Telles will be represented by a public official and the district attorneys are working to have him reformed from his position
‘We are alleging that he is neglectful in his duties as the public administrator,’ Wolfson said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Telles has not been able to perform his job duties since he was arrested on September 7.
‘We firmly believe he will continue to be unable to perform his duties, and the law says if a public official is unable to perform, that’s neglectfulness, and that’s why we’re seeking his removal,’ the district attorney said.
In a jailhouse interview on Friday, Telles admitted he did not know if he’d resign from office.
Telles also refused to answer any questions about the German case as it is still being investigated during the jailhouse interview.
However, he insisted he has ‘certainly made mistakes’ in his past.
‘I’ve just really try to do my best, to live my life doing good for others, and I’m hoping that, again, with everything that’s rolling around in the media these days, that people really see that,’ he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal from inside the walls of the Clark County Detention Center.
The married man – who has had contact with his wife and children – was open to talking about the domestic violence case against him in the jailhouse interview.
In March 2020, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence after his wife Mae Ismael called the police and told them Telles was ‘going crazy.’
Telles admitted to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he ‘struggled with alcohol’ at the time and that moment was a ‘wake-up call.’
‘I don’t drink anymore,’ he told the outlet. ‘My wife and I have a much better relationship [now].’
He said he has been sober since that night and had only uncontrollably drank on special occasions beforehand.
‘It was just me blacking out and, again, not being in control of what was going on,’ he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The case was eventually dismissed and he received a suspended 90-day sentence for resisting arrest – where he allegedly told officers while being arrested: ‘You guys just want to take me down because I am a public official.’
Telles claimed he doesn’t remember speaking to officers.
Newly-released bodycam footage Telles slurring during his arrest on March 1, 2020.
The Democrat lawmaker was nabbed after police received a call from Mae Ismael, his wife, alleging he drunkenly grabbed her by the neck and hit her arm as they returned from the Bellagio casino. He allegedly also screamed, ‘kill me.’
The footage shows Telles slurring his words as officers walk him outside his suburban home in handcuffs and shove him in the backseat of a police car.
‘Can anyone tell me who I hit?’ Telles said repeatedly as police detained him. ‘Because I didn’t hit anybody?’
Telles added, ‘You guys just want to take me down because I’m a public official.’
‘No we don’t,’ an officer responded to the county official as Telles proceeded to deny the abuse allegations. Telles continues to repeat the ‘public official’ as he’s bundled into a police cruiser.
The public official admitted he has been in contact with his wife and children since being incarcerated
Lee-Kennett (pictured with her husband) was accused of having an affair with Telles. German claimed that the two were having an affair, and published video of her getting out of a car and pulling her skirt down after being in the back seat with the official
Kennett left the backseat of the car at the same time as the official, as she pulled her skirt down. The clip was published by the late reporter in May
Alleged killer Robert Telles, 45, seen leaving the backseat of his car, along with a member of his staff. The story was reported by the journalist he allegedly killed
In a 911 call from March 2020, Telles’ wife told police he was ‘going crazy, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Ismael said Telles had drank too much and wouldn’t leave her or their children alone.
Then after she called 911, a police report states, that Telles grabbed Ismael in a tight ‘bear hug’ and did not let her go until their children pried her away.
‘The force of the grab, and Robert’s demeanor frightened the children,’ the police report says. It also notes that Ismael had no visible injuries from the brawl.
But when police arrived at the home that night, they reported that Telles began arguing with his wife again — and even yelled at officers when they tried to keep the two separated.
By the time officers tried to put him in handcuffs, the police report says, Telles flexed his arm in front of his body and collapsed into a chair, refusing to get up.
In body camera footage obtained by the New York Post, Telles can be heard shouting at police, ‘Honestly, I’ve been way f**king drunker than this,’ and continued to deny that he hit his wife.
Police found a bloodied shoe that looked similar to the ones the suspect was seen wearing at Telles’ home
Police also found a straw hat cut up at Telles’ home after the murder
Reporters spotted Telles washing his Red GMC (pictured on surveillance) shortly after the murder
‘Ask the f**king Bellagio if I did that because that’s f**king bullshit,” he continued. “I would never ever f**king do that because I’m not stupid. I am a public official who would never be so f**king stupid to f**king do that. I have many friends and we had a good time. I don’t know why she f**king did this.’
In the end, though, the domestic battery charge was dismissed ‘per negotiations,’ according to court documents and Telles only received a suspended 90-day sentence on the resisting arrest charge on September 30, 2020.
According to the local paper’s obituary, German reported on an extensive range of grizzly topics in Las Vegas, including courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime.
Glenn Cook, the Review-Journal’s executive editor, said earlier this month that German had not communicated any concerns about his personal safety or any threats made against him to anyone in the newspaper’s leadership.
He said in a statement: ‘The Review-Journal family is devastated to lose Jeff.
‘He was the gold standard of the news business. It’s hard to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today without his many years of shining a bright light on dark places.’
German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a columnist and reporter who covered corruption and organized crime.
He was known for his stories about government malfeasance and political scandals and coverage of the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival that killed 60 people and wounded more than 400 others.
German (pictured) spent most of his career in Sin City and joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2010
German was the author of the 2001 true-crime book ‘Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss,’ the story of the death of Ted Binion, heir to the Horseshoe Club fortune
German held a master’s degree from Marquette University and was the author of the 2001 true-crime book ‘Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss,’ the story of the death of Ted Binion, heir to the Horseshoe Club fortune.
Cathy Scott, a former coworker, noted how she and German broke the story of the killing of Las Vegas mafia associate Herbert ‘Fat Herbie’ Blitzstein in 1997 in Las Vegas.
German covered a lot of organized crime stories, including hosting a season of the Review-Journal’s true crime podcast, ‘Mobbed Up: The Fight for Vegas.’
The podcast was described as being about how ‘mafia crime families wielded hidden control over more than a third of the Strip’s casinos, and federal and state agents were waking up to the enormous task of pushing them out.’
He also broke stories about government corruption, political candidates having inappropriate campaign finances and told stories of the rise and fall of the mob in Las Vegas.
Telles is expected to appear in court again on October 26.