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Authorities can’t search slain Las Vegas reporter’s devices, Nevada Supreme Court rules

K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
FILE - Jeff German, host of "Mobbed Up," poses with Planet Hollywood, formerly the Aladdin, in the background on the Strip in Las Vegas, on June 2, 2021.

By The Associated Press

A slain Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter’s personal devices and other records are protected even after death, the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled.

The state’s highest court ruled Thursday that Nevada’s shield law, which protects journalists from disclosing sources, precludes Las Vegas police and prosecutors from going through Jeff German’s things, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

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The ruling also stated Nevada’s return of property law applies to the newspaper because it is an “aggrieved party.” Authorities had argued they could search German’s things because the Review-Journal had no ownership claims.

The three justices also upheld a proposal that a third party examine German’s materials as part of the police investigation into his killing.

A Clark County District judge previously said she didn’t have jurisdiction to consider the matter.

Glenn Cook, the newspaper’s executive editor, applauded the court. He argued letting authorities search German’s devices and discriminate what is protected under press privilege “is like the fox guarding the henhouse.”

Attorneys for investigators have said the devices must be searched for evidence to build a case in German’s slaying.

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Police allege that Robert “Rob” Telles, a Democratic elected county official, waited outside German’s home in September 2022 before fatally stabbing him. Telles was arrested five days later.

Authorities believe Telles, who has since been stripped of his elected position, was motivated by German’s reporting on Telles’ time as public administrator. German’s stories included reports of bullying and hostility perpetrated by Telles in the office, as well as an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

Telles has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder. He plans to represent himself and has a preliminary hearing scheduled later this month.

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