Moose’s book deal

Montgomery County, Md. — Police Chief Charles Moose, at work on a book about last fall’s sniper shootings, said Tuesday he will strive not to harm Virginia’s prosecution of the suspects.

“I’ll go out of my way to make sure that’s not jeopardized,” Moose told Washington radio station WTOP. “I may be a lot of things, but I’m a police officer, and I’m not going to mess up this case.”

The book is due out this fall, around the time suspects Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad face trial in Virginia. Moose also has announced plans to sell movie rights to his story.

Moose, who appeared Monday before a Montgomery County ethics commission examining his book deal and outside employment, said Tuesday he hopes Virginia prosecutors will be available to look at his manuscript before it is published.

Reached later, Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert said he will take the chief up on his offer.

“We’ll be happy to do it,” said Ebert, who is prosecuting Muhammad, 42, in the Oct. 9 killing of Dean H. Meyers at a gas station near Manassas. Malvo, 18, is to be tried in Fairfax County in the Oct. 14 killing of FBI analyst Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot store.

Ebert said he has reservations about some details from the case being made public before trial. “It’s fraught with danger to start publishing books and putting information out there,” he said.

Moose, noting others plan to publish books about the shootings, said his law-enforcement background will help him screen information that might harm the prosecution.

The Montgomery County ethics commission bars county employees from disclosing confidential information. Meanwhile, a Fairfax County judge has issued a gag order prohibiting Fairfax police officers from discussing the case with the media.

Moose remained tight-lipped about his closed-door appearance before the county ethics panel Monday night but said it was “very positive, very upbeat.”

In addition to the book, the panel is reviewing a crisis-management firm Moose and his wife started, as well as Moose’s teaching post at a community college.

County ethics rules say “a public employee must not intentionally use the prestige of office for private gain or the gain of another.” The county permits outside employment, but such jobs must be approved by the ethics panel.

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan has backed Moose, saying the chief’s failure to obtain approval for the consulting and teaching work was an oversight. Duncan issued a statement on Monday saying the chief should be allowed to share his story through a book.

Moose says he plans to donate part of the book’s proceeds to charity. Neither he nor the publisher have disclosed an advance for the book, tentatively titled “Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the D.C. Sniper.”

Moose said Tuesday he established the consulting firm while police chief in Portland, Ore., and he and his wife recently filed paperwork required in Maryland. Moose, who has been Montgomery County’s police chief since 1999, conceded the timing is “awkward” but suggested the firm would have been a “nonissue” before last fall’s shootings.

Muhammad and Malvo are charged or suspected of shootings that left 14 people dead and several more wounded in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Washington state. They were arrested Oct. 24 as they slept in a car at a Maryland rest stop. Both suspects face a possible death sentence.

Kiran Krishnamurthy is a staff writer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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