Youssef: Silence attorney

Last modified: 8/25/2012 12:00:00 AM
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State Senate candidate Joshua Youssef says it's inappropriate for attorney Ed Mosca to stay on as House counsel because he dislikes the way Mosca, also a private attorney, is representing his ex-wife in their contentious divorce.

And Youssef is asking House Republicans to join him in complaining to House Speaker Bill O'Brien about Mosca.

Youssef, 36, of Laconia, alleges that Mosca has illegally made unflattering parts of the Youssefs' divorce case available to the Monitor and to the public on his blog to hurt Youssef's Senate campaign.

In one blog post, which he has since deleted, Mosca identified Youssef as a state Senate candidate and accused the Monitor of "sitting on" information that voters in Youssef's district should know. Mosca's remaining blog posts do not identify Youssef as a candidate, and he begins each piece by saying his posts are part of his private legal practice, not his work as House counsel.

Youssef is one of two Republicans seeking the District 7 Senate race in the September primary. The other is Bill Grimm of Franklin. Democrat Andrew Hosmer is also running.

Youssef's complaint stems from a Monitor story published Thursday about the nearly $50,000 he owes the IRS, according to court records. The story also reported on a judge's conclusion that Youssef has been under-reporting his income for child support calculations.

Youssef is not accused of missing child support payments. Instead, Laconia district court Judge James Carroll ruled that Youssef owes $17,000 in back child support for the years he allegedly under-reported his income. Youssef is challenging that ruling.

The Monitor obtained the judge's order and other court records directly from Youssef's public divorce file. Youssef disputes that and maintains that Mosca was the Monitor's source. He also disputes the IRS debt and the judge's findings about his income reporting.

In a recent email to all Republican House members, Youssef accused Mosca of trying to "sabotage" not only his Senate race with the divorce file but the standing of all Republican candidates. He asked for representatives' help.

"Considering Mosca is a 'Republican' and I am the only true constitutional conservative in the (District 7 Senate) race, I am confused and concerned as to why (Mosca) would be feeding info to the Concord Monitor - a pathetic liberal rag. Is he trying to sabotage the whole party?" Youssef wrote.

"If you agree that Mosca's behavior resembles Judas', or better yet, Benedict Arnold, please contact the (House) speaker, as he has direct influence over Mosca," Youssef wrote. "This internal struggle would be better silenced internally, as many races are at stake - not just mine!"

 'Collision course'

 

Youssef also wrote directly to O'Brien in an Aug. 19 email requesting that O'Brien take "preventative intervention" against Mosca.

"I believe there to be a serious ethical problem with a state-contracted lawyer maintain(ing) a private practice, and (I) am prepared to argue this before a judge," Youssef wrote. "I will very publicly defend myself with overwhelming House and Senate support."

Youssef's email continued: "I would prefer that (Mosca's) personal vindictiveness not take place at the public expense of many good Republicans, and that is precisely what collision course we are on unless people who are in authority over him act promptly, swiftly and aggressively."

Youssef never says in the emails what action he wants O'Brien to take.

O'Brien hired Mosca as House legal counsel in 2010 when he became speaker. Their relationship predates that appointment. Mosca was one of the co-founders with O'Brien of the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation, a nonprofit focused on preserving constitutional liberties.

Neither O'Brien nor House Majority Leader Pete Silva returned requests for comment yesterday. Youssef made an appointment yesterday to speak with the Monitor for this story but did not keep it. He did not return numerous calls and emails seeking comment.

Youssef's emails to House representatives and O'Brien were made public Thursday by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican, on his blog.

Rep. Gene Chandler, a Bartlett Republican who has served 30 years in the House and was previously House speaker, said he doesn't believe Mosca has created a conflict of interest.

"I have not contacted the speaker, nor do I intend to," Chandler said yesterday, referring to Youssef's email. "Mr. Mosca is a part-time legal counsel to the House. He's got a right to practice law on the side. This is a red herring or a smokescreen or whatever you want to call it," Chandler said. "(Youssef) is not a House member, and he's not even running for the House."

 Separate work

 

In an interview yesterday, Mosca disputed Youssef's allegations.

He said he has kept his work as House counsel separate from his private legal work. He did not seek to represent Bethany Youssef in the divorce. Her case was referred to him by the New Hampshire Bar because he represents low-income clients as part of a bar program, he said.

Mosca acknowledged that he has posted information about the Youssefs' case on his public blog, including details about Youssef's IRS debt. He also acknowledged that one of those recent posts, which he has since taken down, identified Youssef as a state Senate candidate.

Mosca said yesterday his intent is not to influence voters in Youssef's race but to take advantage of the attention Youssef is garnering because of his Senate campaign.

In the past several months, Youssef has made his side of the divorce very public. He provided the House Redress of Grievances Committee select parts of his divorce file and put his six hours of testimony before the committee online.

Based on the information Youssef provided the committee, committee members voted 8-2 in July to investigate impeachment proceedings against three judges who handled Youssef's case.

Mosca said he used his blog to write about the Youssef divorce case to redeem Bethany Youssef's reputation and provide a more balanced account of the divorce.

"I think anybody reading the newspapers (about the redress petition) or paying attention to what Josh has to say on his multiple blogs . . . would think that my client is just an absolute monster," Mosca said. "That she's a gold-digger. And nothing could be further from the truth."

When asked about the timing of his post, weeks before the September primary election, Mosca said this:

"I'm not trying to get involved in the primary. Am I using the timing of the primary to make my client's case and restore her public reputation? Absolutely. That is what the intent is."

 More blogging

 

Mosca continues to write about the Youssef divorce on his blog.

On Thursday Mosca responded to a blog Youssef wrote in which he said the Monitor story was inaccurate when it reported he owed the IRS nearly $50,000.

"Josh claims (on his blog), 'I can assure you that my taxes are filed every three months (quarterly) like every other business owner, and the IRS has no issue with me,' " Mosca wrote.

"On June 29, 2011, Josh Youssef filed an 'Affidavit of Truth' (with the court) in which he testified that he owed the IRS $49,223.00 for the tax years 2005 through 2009, and that 'I have not paid this amount and do not have the ability to pay this amount'."

Youssef argues that all financial information from his court case is private and that Mosca is violating court rules by making it public. Court rules allow the court to seal "financial affidavits" in domestic cases, but they do not say all financial references are sealed.

Youssef has previously accused Mosca of trying to interfere with his petition to the House Redress of Grievances Committee. He has suggested that Mosca tried to overturn the committee's vote in favor of Youssef by going through O'Brien.

Mosca said he has never spoken with O'Brien or the redress committee about Youssef's petition. House committee members contacted yesterday did not return calls seeking comment.

(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323 or atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)'




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