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Moose settles ethics dispute over sniper case book

From Mike M. Ahlers

Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose

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  • Served as police chief of Portland, Oregon from 1993 to 1999
  • Began career in 1975 as a patrol officer
  • Holds doctorate and Masters degrees
  • Taught criminal justice at Oregon State University
  • WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Chief Charles Moose reached a deal with the county ethics commission Tuesday that clears the way for him to write a book and pursue a movie project about the sniper investigation, his attorney said.

    "We're happy to report that Chief Moose has settled his case with the Montgomery County Ethics Commission. The book will come out. The book will be published," said Ronald Karp, Moose's attorney. "He feels good about having made that battle and he also feels good that he now has put it behind him."

    The settlement comes just two days before a planned farewell party for Moose, although Karp called the timing a coincidence.

    Moose resigned from his post last month after the ethics commission said Moose could not profit from a book and movie deal about the three-week investigation into the series of sniper shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area last fall.

    Before resigning, Moose filed suit in federal court, alleging the "prestige of office" provision deprived him of his constitutional right to free speech. He also filed an appeal in state court.

    In the settlement announced Tuesday, Moose agreed to drop a federal lawsuit against the county and his appeal of the ethics commission ruling, and also promised to give the county $4,250 he has been paid for the movie rights, Karp said. As part of the settlement, both the federal lawsuit and the state appeal were dismissed Tuesday.

    The county ethics commission, meanwhile, said it reserved the right to go after Moose's profits.

    "In a nutshell, we have said our law does not prohibit him from writing a book or cooperating in a movie. It just prevents him from personal gain," said ethics commission attorney Judson Garrett. "So while he sees it as a restriction on his free speech, we see it as a restriction on fee speech."

    Karp said that the county has agreed that "at no point was Chief Moose ever adjudicated to be acting unethically. He applied for a waiver to write this book and the waiver was turned down. Quite frankly, we're very pleased with the settlement because he will be able to go on with this book."

    The chairwoman of the ethics commission and the county attorney representing the commission could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Moose remains on active duty with the Air National Guard and was not available for comment, according to a report from The Associated Press.

    Moose signed a book deal in January with publisher E.P. Dutton for a reported $170,000 advance for "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper," the AP reported.

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