Former state Senate candidate Josh Youssef guilty of election law violation for operating copycat blog

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The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has ruled former state Senate candidate Joshua Youssef (R-Laconia) violated the state’s election law when he published a deceptive and misleading web site.

In August 2012, Youssef was involved in a public spat with attorney Ed Mosca, who was representing Youssef’s ex-wife in their contentious divorce case. Youssef accused Mosca of trying to sabotage his District 7 Senate campaign after Mosca posted court documents related to the divorce on his blog, edmosca.com.

A few weeks later, Miscellany Blue first reported on the existence of a copycat blog, edmoscablog.com, that was virtually identical to Mosca’s blog in look and feel. The anonymous copycat blog praised Youssef and accused Mosca of waging a “personal vendetta” against him.

After Mosca filed a complaint with the Attorney General, investigators obtained records from GoDaddy.com proving Youssef owned the rights to the edmoscablog.com domain name and concluded Youssef “created and operated” the copycat blog.

The state determined that Youssef violated RSA 666:6 “by creating a blog that lead viewers to believe that it was in fact Ed Mosca’s blog or gave the false impression that Ed Mosca endorsed” his campaign.

Though Youssef took down the copycat site soon after it appeared, the Attorney General’s Office issued a Cease and Desist Order and warned Youssef that failure to comply could result in prosecution in New Hampshire Superior Court.

The Attorney General’s finding was made public by Mosca on the same blog that Youssef mimicked.