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Former executive accused of murdering Las Vegas journalist hires lawyer, sees trial date pushed back

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge on Wednesday pushed back the trial date to next March for a former Las Vegas-area lawmaker who remains imprisoned and is his own defense attorney in the murder of a journalist investigation for over a year. one year ago.

Robert Telles, once the Democratic county probate administrator, used his court appearance to inform Clark County District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt that he had hired another attorney, Gary Modafferi, to assist in his murder defense.

Modafferi, a Las Vegas defense attorney for 12 years, was not in the courtroom. He told The Associated Press by telephone that he has been advising Telles since August on constitutional issues, including how police collect evidence. Modafferi said he had no plans to litigate the matter in court.

Telles pleaded not guilty to murdering Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter in September 2022 and had insisted since his arrest that he wanted a trial date as soon as possible. But after Telles asked for a delay, the judge pushed back the trial date from November 6 to March 18.

Telles complained that he didn’t get all the evidence he should have from the police investigation into German’s murder.

That investigation was slowed by a court order obtained by the Review-Journal to prevent investigators from accessing what the newspaper said could be confidential files on the slain journalist’s cellphone and computers. The newspaper says unpublished names and documents that may be on the German devices are protected from disclosure by the First Amendment and Nevada state law. Police say their investigation will not be complete until the devices are searched.

On October 5, the state Supreme Court authorized Judge Leavitt to appoint an independent two-person team to review the confidentiality of the records before they were opened by police. Leavitt on Wednesday delayed the appointment of the two supervisory officers — a retired U.S. magistrate judge and a former Clark County prosecutor who now serves as a lawyer for the Las Vegas police union — pending confirmation that they accepted this task.

Telles, 46, is an attorney who practiced civil law before being elected in 2018 to Clark County administrator. He was dismissed from his position and his law license was suspended following his arrest. He faces life in prison if convicted of German’s murder. Prosecutors decided he would not receive the death penalty.

German, 69, spent more than 40 years as an investigative journalist in Las Vegas. He was found stabbed to death months after writing articles criticizing Telles and his managerial conduct and Telles lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary.

Prosecutors call the evidence against Telles overwhelming, including DNA believed to be from Telles found under German’s fingernails and videos showing a man believed to be Telles walking near German’s home at the time of the killing.

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