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GREAT FALLS - The Montana Attorney General's Office has agreed with the Glacier County attorney that a fight in Cut Bank was not racially motivated.

Three brothers - Todd, Brian and Aaron Molenda - were charged in September with misdemeanor assault after a brawl outside of a bar.

Two of the alleged victims included Glacier County Commissioner Ron Rides at the Door and his wife, Michelle, who said they were trying to break up the fight. The three brothers are accused of beating Rides at the Door while calling him a "dirty Indian."

In a letter released Monday, Chief Criminal Counsel John P. Connor Jr. wrote: "We have all concluded that the actions of the Molenda brothers, while disgusting, totally unacceptable and allegedly criminal, did not occur because of the victims' race. In our judgment, they occurred because Mr. Rides at the Door attempted to assist another victim who was being beaten by the Molenda brothers."

In October, County Attorney Larry Epstein asked the AG's office to review his decision not to file felony charges against the brothers under Montana's hate crime law.

Meghan Lulf Sutton, the Molendas' attorney, said "this has been a clear-cut case from the beginning that didn't fit the criteria of a hate crime."

Epstein declined to comment about the pending case or whether the brothers would be charged with felonies under a different statute.

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