Keeping Tabs on the Chief

* Just how big a celebrity is Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose? At the moment, J. Lo big. Matthew Perry big. Big enough, in other words, to be the subject of a two-page spread in this week's Globe supermarket tabloid under the screaming headline "CHIEF MOOSE'S SHOCKING FAMILY SECRETS."

"Is that so?" the star of the sniper case said yesterday with a tiny gasp. "Maybe I need to get a copy of that. . . . I really don't know what to say."

The 49-year-old Moose -- the public face of law enforcement during this region's 22-day ordeal of terror and homicide, and an honoree at tonight's Washington Business Hall of Fame dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel -- told us he's coping with all the attention, which has included being lionized by the unofficial Web site of the budding Chief Moose Fan Club, "I guess I'm trying to get through this. At this point I don't know the total ramifications of it," he said. "It has been a very nice thing for the police department. People have been very positive. They're waving at us with all five fingers, and that does feel nice. More people are recognizing me, and my wife, Sandy, thinks that's great. She says it just means I have to be nice all the time. It's something she's always encouraging me to be, even when I'm in a moody mood."

Moose, who has yet to field any offers from Hollywood or the publishing industry, added that he expects his fame to fizzle in the very near future. "Most people don't have that long of an attention span." He might be right.

Yesterday at the National Press Club, actor Danny Glover was asked if he'd consider portraying Moose in a movie. "I applaud his work," Glover responded, "but I have no interest in playing that role."

You've Got Mea Culpa

AOL Time Warner's Steve Case has been having a rough time. His vaunted January 2000 merger of media giants -- a marriage of such disparate enterprises as America Online, CNN, various magazines and a Hollywood studio -- has been marred by plunging stock prices and nasty clashes of corporate cultures. In recent months, some of Case's closest allies have been sent packing, and rumors of Case's own demise -- stoked by his fellow AOL Time Warner tycoon and fierce adversary Ted Turner -- have been rampant.

So jaws dropped Monday night at the Fortune Global Forum 2002 dinner when Time Inc. Chairman Ann Moore mistakenly identified Richard Parsons as "the chairman of AOL Time Warner," a title that belongs to Case. Mere CEO Parsons, who had the task of introducing the featured speaker, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, immediately corrected Moore's gaffe, quipping "Thanks for that promotion" and adding "Our chairman is here" as he pointed Case out at a nearby table. But, reports The Post's Richard Leiby, "titters ensued and a few dyspeptic smiles creased the faces of the gathered moguls" at the Building Museum.

These worthies included Case, sitting with AOL founder Jim Kimsey among other AOL types, and, at the head table with Rumsfeld, such Time Warner big shots as Parsons, Moore and Time Inc. Editorial Director John Huey as well as Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and Sony Corp. Chairman Nobuyuki Idei. An anonymous executive in attendance told us: "There was considerable humor exhibited by some of the people at our table, and the phrase 'Freudian slip' did come up. As far as Freudian slips go, it was a classic." (Interestingly, no one seemed to notice when Parsons at one point referred to Rumsfeld as the "secretary of state.") Yesterday executives at AOL Time Warner refused to provide us with a photo of Moore, who was said to be mortified and privately lamenting that she ever ventured into textual deviance and tried to ad-lib her intro of Parsons, and cautioned us not to "make a mountain out of a molehill." Senior Vice President Edward Adler told us: "It was an inadvertent slip. .{lcub}sbquo{rcub}.{lcub}sbquo{rcub}. Everyone there, including Steve and Dick and Ann, all thought it was a wonderful company event."

Gennifer Flowers's Lawsuit Blooms Anew

* Former Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers declared victory yesterday as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit partially reversed a Las Vegas trial court that had dismissed her three-year-old defamation suit against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), ABC News "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos and cracker-barrel plutocrat James Carville.

But the court -- which is allowing Flowers to sue Stephanopoulos and Carville for statements they made on "Larry King Live" (as well as a passage in Stephanopoulos's memoirs) and Clinton for alleged conspiracy -- suggested that her case is weak. She "no doubt faces an uphill battle," wrote U.S. Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski.

"I'm celebrating in my heart," said the Arkansas newscaster turned New Orleans lounge singer. "I just think it's about time. I'm extremely excited and gratified that justice is being served in this case, and I'm just anxious to go back to Las Vegas." Flowers's attorney, Judicial Watch President Larry Klayman, promised that "discovery will begin immediately" and gloated: "I wonder if this will be a topic on ABC's 'This Week.'{lcub}sbquo{rcub}"

Stephanopoulos declined to comment and referred us to his lawyer, Laura Handman, who said: "Ms. Flowers's claims have been dismissed by the trial court once before. The appeals court said she now faced an uphill battle. We are confident that the case will be dismissed again." Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, echoed Handman's statement. Carville groused: "It was a frivolous lawsuit when it was filed. It is and always shall be a frivolous lawsuit, and a complete waste of everybody's time."