By JOHN S. ADAMS
Great Falls Tribune, Feb. 29, 2012
Richard Cebull, chief United States district judge, makes the closing remarks at the Missouri River Federal Courthouse dedication ceremony in September 2009. TRIBUNE PHOTO/ RION SANDERS
HELENA — Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Wednesday admitted to sending a racially charged email about President Barack Obama from his courthouse chambers.
Cebull, of Billings, was nominated by former President George W. Bush and received his commission in 2001 and has served as chief judge for the District of Montana since 2008.
The subject line of the email, which Cebull sent from his official courthouse email address on Feb. 20 at 3:42 p.m., reads: "A MOM'S MEMORY."
The forwarded text reads as follow:
"Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.
Cebull admitted Wednesday to sending the email to seven recipients, including his personal email address.
The judge acknowledged that the content of the email was racist, but said he does not consider himself racist. He said the email was intended to be a private communication.
"It was not intended by me in any way to become public," Cebull said. "I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended."
Cebull said his brother initially sent him the email, which he forwarded to six of his "old buddies" and acquaintances.
He admitted that he read the email and intended to send it to his friends.
Travis McAdam, executive director for the Montana Human Rights Network , said the email contained highly racist rhetoric unbecoming of a federal judge.