Missoula County Commissioners to DOJ: We Don't Supervise County Attorney

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The Missoula County Commission will tell the Department of Justice that it has no supervisory powers over Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, the Missoulian reports.

The County Commission's announcement, expected later today, will detail why it cannot compel Van Valkenburg to cooperate with Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter, who requested of the Commission last week to speak with it about his standoff with the county attorney.

Van Valkenburg has filed suit in U.S. District Court, challenging the DOJ's authority over his office. 

The announcement comes at a tense time for Missoula County officials. In February, the Department of Justice released a report that Missoula prosecutors gave sexual assault cases the lowest priority, declining to prosecute most cases of non-stranger sexual assault in and around the University of Montana.

"The county attorney is simply not doing what needs to be done" to protect women on and near campus, Jocelyn Samuels, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, told National Public Radio