MISSOULA, Mont. -

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen has agreed to give the DOJ and  Missoula's County Attorney more time.

U.S. Attorney for Montana Michael Cotter is asked the judge for an extension in the case Thursday.

Cotter filed the document asking for a 30-day extension to file a reply. Cotter wrote the request came from Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.

It's the latest development in the ongoing battle between County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg and the feds over the way Van Valkenburg's office handles sexual assault cases.

Van Valkenburg filed a request for declaratory judgement in February. It asks the judge to decide whether the feds can legally investigate the his office.

In the request for an extension Cotter wrote, "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."

"...if an extension is granted, Defendants will delay filing a separate civil rights action against Plaintiffs," Cotter wrote.

Cotter's office has until May 21 to file a reply to Van Valkenburg's complaint.