ballot harvesting Screenshot Project Veritas
© Screenshot Project Veritas
One of the men shown in the video that spurred a police investigation into alleged ballot harvesting in Minnesota is recounting his side of the story for the first time.

Liban Osman, who was caught boasting about the large number of ballots he had collected in a video that was released last month by the conservative investigative group Project Veritas, claimed that he was offered a $10,000 bribe by community activist Omar Jamal, according to Fox 9. A representative from the activist group denied the allegations of attempted bribery.

"He was setting me up," Osman, the brother of Minneapolis City Council member Jamal Osman, said of Omar Jamal in the report that was published Monday evening.

Liban Osman denied filling out the ballots or altering them in any way. In the video, recorded in July, he bragged about collecting "300 ballots for Jamal Osman," but he told the outlet the number is actually closer to 20.

Ballot harvesting is when a third party, often volunteers or campaign staff, collects ballots directly from the homes of voters to deliver them to polling stations. Most states that allow voters to have a third party deliver their ballots have a limit on the number of ballots that can be collected by an individual. California is the exception which allows unlimited ballot collection so long as the harvesters are paid hourly and not per ballot. It is illegal to harvest more than three ballots in Minnesota.

In explaining what the video showed, Liban Osman claimed that the open ballots laying on the dash of his car in the two Snapchat videos making up the Project Veritas claims are the envelopes the ballots came in.

In extended video footage obtained by the local news outlet, Liban Osman said he was collecting mail-in ballots from sick and elderly voters who had requested someone to come pick up their ballots through the campaign. In the second video released by Project Veritas, Liban Osman can be heard saying, "Money is everything. It's the key to this world," but Fox 9 reports that the comment was made in connection to his brother's 11 opponents in the Ward 6 special election.

"These are wild, and crazy, and baseless accusations," Jered Ede, chief legal officer for Project Veritas, responded. "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."

James O'Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, announced he would be filing "a huge defamation lawsuit this week," although it's unclear if that is in anyway related to this latest report. Project Veritas has had some reporting fall apart, including an attempt to show bias at the Washington Post.

The Minneapolis police, who said they have started investigating the incident, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the status of the investigation. President Trump also called for an investigation.