James O'Keefe Did A Misleading Video Claiming Voter Fraud? That's Not Very 'Veritas' At All!
One of the men featured in James O'Keefe's latest rightwing fantasia on a theme of "massive voter fraud" says he was "set up" by a Minneapolis community activist working with O'Keefe, and that video he appeared in was deceptively edited to make it look like he was admitting to election fraud. TV station KMSP reports that Liban Osman, the brother of a recently elected Minneapolis City Council member, had indeed been recorded collecting absentee ballots from ill and elderly voters, but he was doing so legally, for his brother's campaign, and not as part of a shadowy vote-buying plot by Rep. Ilhan Omar, as the video alleges. What's more, Osman says Omar Jamal, the activist who appears to be the main source for the dubious "voter fraud" videos, told him that Project Veritas (Latin for "caught lying again") would pay Osman $10,000 if he said on camera he was collecting ballots for Omar.
KMSP says it has obtained the raw video, which makes it clear Osman was working for his brother's campaign, not Ilhan Omar. Let's get our nitrile gloves and N-95 masks on and untangle this latest load of O'Keefe crap!
Normally, under Minnesota law, it's illegal for one person to deliver more than three absentee ballots from other people to county elections offices. But because the pandemic, courts suspended those rules for five weeks this summer, which is the period when Osman was picking up the ballots Project Veritas claims were part of a dastardly plot. He also says Project Veritas edited together two entirely different Snapchat videos from different times to make it look like he was admitting to collecting ballots for money. (Here's a New York Post video summary of the O'Keefe mess, including the supposedly incriminating, misleading video snippets.)
In one video from July, Osman bragged that "my car is full" of absentee ballots, though he says it was really only about 30 ballots.
Liban Osman denies that he filled out the ballots or altered them in any way. He said what appears to be open ballots laying on the dash of his car are actually the envelopes the ballots came in. He said voters concerned about identity theft asked him to shred the envelopes.
In another video, from August, Osman says, "Money is everything. It's the key to this world," which the Project Vomitus video suggests is proof of vote-buying. KMSP explains the raw, unedited video "reveals the comments were clearly directed at his brother's 11 opponents in the Ward 6 special election, many of whom were operating shoe-string campaigns." But that's not nearly as exciting!
An attorney for Project Veritas said Osman took the Snapchat video showing him with more than three ballots in early July, before the court decisions, so he was doing illegal "ballot harvesting," but Osman says he believed it was from late July, and therefore legal, although he was unsure of the exact date.
Law & Crime notes that the Project Veritas video "alleges that operatives for Rep. Omar's campaign paid voters to provide Osman with blank mail-in ballots, though Project Veritas offers no evidence to substantiate this claim." Well why do you need evidence when you have a guy on tape talking about money in a completely different context?
Osman told KMSP that Jamal told him Project Veritas would pay him $10,000 to say he was working for Ilhan Omar, and that
"He said, 'Why are you defending Ilhan Omar? [...] They (Project Veritas) are not after you or your brother. Why are you defending her?''"
"I told him he was insane and walked away," Liban Osman said.
Project Veritas chief legal officer Jered Ede denied that the video had been manipulated or misrepresented, which we suppose could be true as long as you define those terms narrowly enough (hey, no faked voices!), and that it definitely never offered no $10,000 to NOBODY:
These are wild, and crazy, and baseless accusations. [...]
This, to me, is a man who is drowning in the consequences of his own actions, who is trying to grasp at every possible straw to keep himself from going under.
Ede did not clarify whether the wild and crazy accusations were from Czechoslovakia, were looking for American foxes, or had great bulges.
Mr. Jamal has done reasonably well for doing his part to "expose" voting fraud that doesn't appear to actually exist; Jamal has
used his appearance in the Project Veritas reports to raise nearly $30,000. In an interview with Somali American TV, he reportedly backtracked on claims he witnessed cash being exchanged for ballots.
The Sahan Journal, a nonprofit publication for and about immigrants in Minnesota, reports that Jamal is quite the character. Jamal said on a local TV program for the Somali-American community that a clip he provided to Project Veritas, supposedly showing someone buying a blank absentee ballot for $200 dollars, was in fact a demonstration of how that process works. On that program, he acknowledged he never saw anyone buying votes.
Further, KMSP reports that two sources said the recording, showing money being handed over, portrays Jamal himself, and that he's "handing the man $200 which was intended for the family of a sick relative in Somalia."
Huh! In the Project Veritas video, O'Keefe says the video is an
explosive piece of tape [that] shows a man buying a registration form for an absentee ballot for a voter, giving him 'pocket money' of $200 and expecting to collect his ballot when the voter receives it.
Really explosive, if you're making shit up at least.
In addition, Sahan Journal notes that Jamal has a bit of a history of "provocative and unsubstantiated allegations," like the time in 2009 when he claimed on national TV that Al Qaeda had terrorist cells operating in the Twin Cities. Clearly, those cells must be there still, since they were never found, so there's one more thing to worry about.
And now it is your OPEN THREAD!
[KMSP-TV / Law & Crime / Sahan Journal]
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