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FIRST ON FOX: The Democratic Party of Nevada is condemning violence on all sides after an elected Las Vegas Democratic official was charged with murdering a local reporter.
The party said it would always condemn any criminal behavior or violence, but refrained from specifically disavowing Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles. On Monday, prosecutors formally charged Telles with murdering Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, who had written a series of articles critical of Telles, earlier this month.
“The Democratic Party has no control over an individual’s voter registration,” party spokesperson Gordon Brown told Fox News Digital in an email.
“We condemn criminal behavior by Democrats, Republicans, and even those not registered to vote at all, and we vehemently condemn any violence towards members of the press, who are a vital part of the infrastructure of democracy itself, and who should be able to do their jobs without fear,” he continued.
Robert Telles is pictured uring a 2014 event in Las Vegas. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
On Thursday, one day after Las Vegas police arrested Telles in connection with the alleged murder, Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Judith Whitmer issued a statement similarly avoiding mentioning him by name.
Instead, Whitmer praised German, saying he was a “uniquely talented investigative journalist,” and reaffirmed the importance of the freedom of the press.
“I was shocked and horrified by the news of the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal journalist Jeff German,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Freedom of the press is foundational to our democracy, and this Constitutional right is held as sacred for good reason: a free press serves to hold the powerful accountable, which keeps us all safe, be it from simple graft or from a full descent into fascism.”
“It is deeply disturbing to know that his sense for justice and ethics may have motivated this unconscionable violence against him, and we fervently hope that the investigation into his death leads to justice for the perpetrator,” she added.
Las Vegas police Det. Dori Koren speaks during a Sept. 8 press conference about the arrest of Robert Telles in connection to the murder of journalist Jeff German. (FOX 5 Las Vegas)
The criminal complaint filed Monday accused Telles of “lying in wait” at German’s home on Sept. 2, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Telles then allegedly stabbed German to death with a knife.
German’s body was discovered on the morning of Sept. 3.
Telles was arrested Wednesday evening after DNA evidence linked him to the crime scene, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He is being held without bail.
In May, German published a story that alleged Telles’ office was rife with bullying and emotional stress. The article also highlighted claims from employees in the office that German was in an “inappropriate relationship” with a staffer.
Jeff German poses for a portrait at the Las Vegas Review-Journal photo studio, in Las Vegas, on Jan. 19, 2017. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP) (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
Telles downplayed the report as allegations made by “the local rightwing paper.”
“You may believe I am not the man that I have always portrayed myself to be,” he wrote in a post on his campaign website. “Some of you may not know all the good work that I have done for Las Vegas. I hope by the end of this page you will see what I know to be true. The article was false.”
In June, Telles lost a primary challenge to his top deputy Rita Reid.
The Clark County Democratic Party didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
Thomas Catenacci is a politics writer at Fox News Digital