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Lauer’s Power and the Assault at Stoney’s

(Chuck Muth) – The following was published for Nevada Confidential subscribers yesterday, with updates that have been added today:

(BREAKING NEWS: June 7, 2010) – On her Facebook page early Sunday morning, a longtime and fairly well-known Republican woman who has been around Clark County GOP politics for a long time wrote:

“OMG! Really hard to type or use the mouse with both wrists in splints and my hoplessly righthanded right arm in a sling!!! Need the dragon speak software!!!”

Word on the street from two sources is that the woman was assaulted at the bar after the First Friday Happy Hour by a leading Republican candidate for statewide office. The rumor is the candidate used a military police-style grip on the woman’s hands and then slammed her head into the bar.

I understand a police report has been filed and the incident may have been captured by a surveillance camera.

Stay tuned for the details on this one!

(UPDATE: June 7, 2010) – OK, I’ve now confirmed that a reported assault did take place after this month’s First Friday Happy Hour last week and have verified the names of the parties involved.

The woman who was assaulted is longtime Clark County GOP activist Jennifer von Tobel.

The Republican candidate involved is Rob Lauer, who is running for Secretary of State.

I spoke directly with Ms. von Tobel yesterday afternoon, who would only confirm that she was, in fact, assaulted at the bar by Lauer at Stoney’s Friday night at around 8:45 pm, and that she did file a police report on the incident. However, the detectives advised her not to speak to the media or anyone other than a lawyer while they continue their investigation.

I have not spoken to Lauer yet but calls have been placed to him. I’ve also been told that Lauer was at the Republican Men’s Club luncheon in Las Vegas yesterday afternoon, followed Ms. Von Tobel around the room and eventually confronted her about the incident – but didn’t lay a hand on her.

Reliable sources say the incident was, in fact, captured by a surveillance video which tends to corroborate the account about the incident which has been described to me thusly:

Von Tobel was at the main bar at Stoney’s speaking to a woman acquaintance from New York when Lauer attempted to insert himself into the conservation. Von Tobel told him it was a private conversation and leave them alone.

At that point Lauer reportedly informed von Tobel that he was a former Military Police officer and was trained to deal with attackers and subdue them. He then invited or dared Von Tobel to put her hands on his chest. She declined. Lauer reportedly kept pestering her to the point where von Tobel gave him the “talk to the hand” gesture. At that point Lauer grabbed her hand in mid-air, yanked it forcefully behind her back and put her in an armlock.

Contrary to earlier reports, I’m told Lauer did NOT slam her head into the bar; it just looked that way because he had her bent over in an “arrest” position with her head on the bar, yelling in excruciating pain.

When Lauer finally let go, von Tobel put her hands up again to try to defend herself and get away from him. But Lauer reportedly grab her by both wrists and again put her right back in the same armlock. Reports say he did this each time he released von Tobel – at least three times and maybe more.

A person who spoke with von Tobel yesterday at the GOP luncheon said von Tobel did go to the hospital on Saturday and was treated for two sprained wrists and a torn rotator cuff from the assault.

That’s all I have right now. Waiting to get a copy of the police report and to hear Mr. Lauer’s side of the story.

By the way, this won’t be Lauer’s first brush with the law.

Now aren’t you glad you subscribed to Nevada Confidential?

(P.S. It is NOT true that state Sen. Dennis Nolan has already offered to testify as a character witness at Mr. Lauer’s trial…so let’s just put that rumor to rest right now!)

(UPDATE: June 8, 2010) – A source wishing to remain anonymous tells me this morning that Mr. Lauer is claiming the incident was “all in good fun” and he and von Tobel laughed about it afterwards. Highly unlikely.

My source adds the following:

“Now we lose SoS because Lauer will never get elected. Even if it was ‘all in fun,’ as he claims, Rob Lauer is a big guy, former military, former Military Police, and the victim is not only a woman, but a woman in her forties. Doesn’t matter how ‘fit’ she is, Lauer should have known that with his strength, just fooling around, he could seriously hurt her. Bad judgment call no matter how you look at it. Ross Miller, congratulations.”