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December 21, 2014

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Secretary of State candidate charged with misdemeanor battery

Police: Surveillance tape confirms GOP candidate put supporter in ‘reverse wrist lock’

Updated Friday, July 30, 2010 | 3:01 p.m.

Rob Lauer

Rob Lauer

A criminal complaint has been filed against Secretary of State candidate Rob Lauer for assaulting a political supporter at an event last month, according to the court summons.

Lauer is ordered to appear in court on August 24 to face the misdemeanor battery charge, according to the Clark County District Attorney’s office. A misdemeanor battery conviction is punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,000.

The fact that it’s not a felony is significant because convicted felons cannot run for office until four years after they complete parole. But charges of assaulting a 46-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis is sure to become an issue in his bid to defeat Secretary of State Ross Miller, the Democratic incumbent.

Lauer, a Republican, has denied the accusations, saying he was demonstrating self defense moves to her. On Friday he said he was not aware of the criminal complaint and was not prepared to comment.

According to the summons, Lauer was talking to Jennifer Von Tobel on June 4 at a political rally at Stoney’s Bar on Las Vegas Boulevard. Lauer mentioned he is a military police officer and “knew several techniques he uses for self defense,” Von Tobel told police. “Von Tobel jokingly stated ‘I’m a New Yorker,’ you can’t beat me up,” according to the summons.

Lauer challenged Von Tobel to put her hands on his chest, she told police. She refused, but he insisted. She put up her hand to give what she described as a “talk to the hand” gesture. Lauer grabbed Von Tobel’s hand, twisted it and placed it behind her back three times. She suffered a sprained wrist and inflamed shoulder that forced her to wear a sling, she told police. Days later she got a restraining order against him after he followed her at a political event.

Surveillance video from the bar confims Von Tobels’ account, according to the police summons. Other witnesses from that night confirmed Von Tobel’s story.

Lauer filed his own police report about the incident days later, accusing Von Tobel of grabbing his right buttock and putting him in a headlock. He also said that Von Tobel invited him to demonstrate the reverse wrist lock. Police said he could not provide a witness to corroborate his story. A police spokeswoman said that case has been suspended.

In an interview last month with the Las Vegas Sun, Lauer accused Von Tobel of being drunk, which she denied.

The Von Tobel family was one of the founding Las Vegas families, and is prominent in Republican political circles. Von Tobel has raised money for Republican politicians in the past.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the fall of 2011, the charges against Lauer were dismissed by a Las Vegas justice of the peace.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected. An earlier version of this story stated that felons cannot run for office in Nevada. | (August 9, 2013)

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