U.S. Attorney for Montana Michael Cotter has requested, and received, a 30 day extension in responding to a lawsuit filed by the Missoula County Attorney.

The request was filed in District Court on Thursday, April 17.

At the request of the Montana Attorney General, Defendants hereby move for a 30-day extension of time, from April 21, 2014 to May 21, 2014, within which to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint. The parties intend to discuss the possibility of resolving amicably the subject matter of the litigation and agree that this can best be accomplished if the deadline to respond to the complaint is extended.

As Defendants have previously communicated to Plaintiffs, if an extension is granted, Defendants will delay filing a separate civil rights action against Plaintiffs.

Defendants contacted Counsel for the Plaintiffs, Natasha Prinzing Jones, and she has no objection to this motion.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said he also agreed to the extension, requested by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.

"Attorney General Fox wants to try and work something out here and I think he deserves the cooperation of the parties in terms of trying to make that happen," Van Valkenburg said. "We'll just have to see how it goes. I don't think it's necessarily hopeful, but my attorney, Natasha Prinzing Jones and I have agreed to the 30 days, and we'll certainly try."

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg

Thursday's District Court filing is the latest step in the conflict between the Department of Justice and the Missoula County Attorney's office over its handling of sexual assault cases. Van Valkenburg maintains that the DOJ has no authority to interfere in how his office conducts its business.