(NEW YORK)– In response to the arrest of Clark County (NV) Public Administrator Robert Telles in the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, PEN America issued the following statement from Washington Managing Director Nadine Farid Johnson:

“The possibility that German may have been murdered by a government official in retaliation for his work as an investigative journalist is horrifying and deeply disturbing. It demands a resounding response from political leaders to commit to defending the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists. We join German’s family and his colleagues at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in mourning his devastating loss, and we stand with all journalists against attempts to intimidate and silence.” 

German was working on a story about Telles the week he was killed, according to the Review-Journal. Telles was the subject of articles about his oversight of his office, and German reported that Telles created a hostile work environment and carried on an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

In June, Telles conceded a close Democratic primary race to his top deputy; the loss may have been tied to the negative stories about him.

German was one of Nevada’s most accomplished and trusted journalists; he was found dead with stab wounds outside his home last Saturday morning. His work in Las Vegas spanned four decades and he broke many big stories about government malfeasance, political scandals, and organized crime. His reporting often led to government reforms or personnel and policy changes.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, STrimel@PEN.org, 201-247-5057