Moose settles with county over sniper book, faces new hurdle
- The former Montgomery police chief dropped a lawsuit against the county’s ethics commission and agreed not to reveal confidential information, but attorneys for accused sniper John Muhammad have asked for Moose’s book to be delayed until after the trial.
July 10, 2003 — Former Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose reached an agreement Tuesday with county officials over his book about the investigation of the 2002 Washington, D.C.-area sniper shootings.
Under the agreement, Moose will be able to proceed with the book, but agreed that he would not reveal any confidential information.
But Moose’s book may have hit another snag. Attorneys for John Muhammed, who, along with Lee Boyd Malvo is charged with the Washington, D.C.-area shooting spree in Fall 2002, last week asked a federal judge in Greenbelt, Md., to delay publication of the book until after their client’s trial, according to a report in The Washington Post. Muhammad’s attorneys argued that the release of the book before trial could taint the jury pool and undermine their client’s right to a fair hearing.
In his settlement with county officials, Moose also dropped his federal lawsuit claiming that the county’s ethics commission was violating his free-speech rights by blocking him from writing the book.
The county’s ethics commission found in March that Moose’s bid to make money off his job hurt the prestige of his position as police chief. Moose resigned June 18. But the commission continued to question whether he could profit from the book based on work he did while police chief.
As part of the settlement agreement, Moose also gave the county $4,250 he was paid for the movie rights to his story, according to the AP.
“In signing today’s settlement agreement, the Commission ends contentious and potentially disruptive litigation,” the commission said in a statement. “The Commission’s advisory opinions will continue to guide future Commission decisions regarding whether County employees can profit from services directly and immediately related to the employee’s governmental activities. The Ethics Commission seeks to ensure all County residents that public service remains a public trust.”
The book, “Three Weeks in October,” is scheduled for publication in October, one year after the sniper attacks.
© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press