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US judge forwards racist email about Obama

Richard Cebull

A federal judge acknowledged forwarding a racially charged email about President Barack Obama, saying he isn't a racist and apologizing while adding that he sent it "because it's anti-Obama."

"I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended," Richard Cebull, the chief U.S. district judge in Montana, said in comments reported by the Great Falls Tribune newspaper on Wednesday.

"The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan," he said. "I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. I sent it out because it's anti-Obama."

In his email to six friends, Cebull writes: "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."

The forwarded content states: "A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?' His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"

Cebull, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush, has served as the state's chief federal judge since 2008. He told the Great Falls Tribune that he doesn't consider himself prejudiced, and that is actions in the courtroom have shown that.

"I have never considered myself that way," Cebull said. "All I can emphasize is I've treated people in my courtroom all these years fairly. I don't think I've ever demonstrated racism. Nobody has ever even implied it."

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