Montana’s chief federal judge is retiring after emailing a joke about President Obama that was racist and involved bestiality.
U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull had previously announced he would step down as chief circuit judge and take a reduced caseload, but he informed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he now intends to fully retire May 3.
The appellate court posted a statement by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski on its website Tuesday announcing Cebull had submitted the retirement letter.
The letter comes as the appellate court’s Judicial Council issued a March 15 order on the investigation into the February 2012 email.
The council’s order will remain confidential during an appeal period, the statement said.
A Cebull aide directed calls for comment to Clerk of Court Tyler Gilman, who did not immediately return a call Wednesday. Appellate Court spokesman David Madden also did not immediately return a call.
Cebull wrote a letter of apology to Obama and filed a complaint against himself after The Great Falls Tribune published the contents of the email, which included a racist joke about Obama that involved bestiality:
“A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’” the email said. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’”