(CBrief) – While the Las Vegas Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate the murder of a local journalist allegedly committed by a Democratic politician, a reporter suggested another possible motive in the killing on Friday.
Specifically, that former President Donald Trump may have had something to do with it.
During a news conference to discuss the crime and the ensuing investigation, a reporter noted it was probably not an “appropriate” time to talk about “politics,” to which Sheriff Joseph Lombardo responded, “So why are we talking politics then?”
The reporter then pressed: “Do you condemn former President Trump’s normalization of violence against journalists?” — likely a reference to the former president’s frequent reference to some mainstream correspondents as “enemies of the people.”
“No, I think this is probably an inappropriate venue to speculate on that, or opine on that. I think it needs to be stated and noted that it is troublesome because it is a journalist, and we expect journalism to be open and transparent and a watchdog for government,” Lombardo responded.
“And when people take it upon themselves to create harm associated with that profession, I think it’s very important that we put all eyes on and address the case appropriately, such as we did in this case,” he added.
Earlier, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that one of its own journalists, Jeff German, was stabbed to death Wednesday outside of his Las Vegas home. German, 69, had been engaged in an investigation of Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles in which he chronicled “public wrongdoing.” Telles has been arrested as the prime suspect in the slaying.
The local outlet reported:
The stunning development came a day after Las Vegas police asked for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in the case. An early morning search of Telles’ home on Wednesday provided the first indication that the Friday killing might be related to German’s work exposing public wrongdoing. The investigative reporter was pursuing a potential follow-up story about Telles in the weeks before he was killed.
NPR reported that law enforcement officials have discovered Telle’s DNA at the crime scene.
“This is a terrible and jarring homicide – one that has deeply impacted Las Vegas,” Lombardo also noted at the press conference, NPR said.
“Every murder is tragic, but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” he added.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Captain Dori Koren said investigators found Telles’ DNA at the crime scene and also recovered blood-stained shoes and a straw hat that matched those worn by the suspect in surveillance video.
Authorities also towed a red GMC Denali from Telles’ home, the same kind of vehicle the suspect drove, police said.
Though authorities did not ascribe a motive to the killing, German had recently written a series of articles about mismanagement and disarray in the public administrator’s office helmed by Telles. Upset by the articles, Telles had lashed out at German on social media.
“Telles was also upset, from what we found out later, that there was additional reporting that was pending,” said Koren.
“Jeff was a loving and loyal brother, uncle and friend who devoted his life to his work exposing wrongdoing in Las Vegas and beyond,” a statement from German’s family said. “Jeff was committed to seeking justice for others and would appreciate the hard work by local police and journalists in pursuing his killer.”
According to CNN, here are some of the headlines from stories that German wrote detailing allegations against Telle and his office:
— “County office in turmoil with secret video and claims of bullying, hostility” — May 16, 2022
— “In a rare move, consultant hired to resolve turmoil in county office” — May 22, 2022
— “Embattled county official losing re-election bid, posts angry letter” — June 18, 2022
— “Embattled county official concedes race, remains combative” — June 22, 2022
It’s not yet known what further details regarding the Democratic official and suspect that German was preparing to report.