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Moose, ethics panel reach deal letting him write book

Former police chief will tell of search for Washington-area sniper

Associated Press

July 9, 2003

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ROCKVILLE - Former Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose will be able to write his book under an agreement reached yesterday with the county ethics commission, his attorney said.

Moose dropped his federal lawsuit and an appeal of the ethics commission ruling blocking him from writing the book about the search for the Washington-area sniper, said Ronald Karp, Moose's lawyer. The former chief gave the county the $4,250 he was paid for the movie rights to his story, Karp said.

Karp said the deal ends the legal dispute over Moose's book, which will detail his role as head of the sniper investigation. The book is due out in the fall and can be ordered on the Internet. "He is free to write the book; he is free to pursue the movie," Karp said.

The agreement includes a clause stipulating that Moose will not reveal confidential information. Elizabeth Kellar, commission chairwoman, said the settlement satisfies the county's strict ethics provisions.

The ethics commission ruled in March that Moose couldn't write the book, saying he would unfairly profit from his office. Commission members also worried that the chief might reveal confidential information.

Concerned that he could face disciplinary action or possible prosecution, Moose filed the federal lawsuit May 14 against the ethics panel and Kellar. He also appealed the panel's ruling in Circuit Court.

Karp said then that the federal lawsuit sought to protect Moose's free speech rights. He said members of the ethics panel had threatened Moose, 49, with jail and other sanctions.

"One thing that was important was that at no time was Chief Moose ever to be adjudicated as being unethical," Karp said of the settlement.

Moose quit last month, saying he felt he had to choose between his job and the book.

He has since received a reported $20,000 for a speaking appearance and is being promoted by a speakers bureau.

After Moose resigned, the ethics commission continued to investigate whether it had oversight of his book and his profits.