- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Civil rights attorneys who want an appeals court to preserve racist emails that led to the resignation of a federal judge in Montana say attorneys for the federal judiciary are getting ahead of themselves in arguing the emails shouldn’t be released.

The California Civil Rights Law Group argued Tuesday that they are not asking for emails sent by retired U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull to be released, they are just asking that they be preserved.

The civil rights attorneys want the emails to be available as potential evidence as they try to exonerate a former chairman of the Crow Indian Tribe of a bribery conviction.

The petitioners believe racism may have been a factor in Cebull’s decision not to allow Clifford Birdinground to withdraw his guilty plea.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has scheduled a Jan. 13 hearing in Oakland, California.

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