Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

A federal grand jury in Minnesota has indicted a man on two counts of allegedly lying under oath in an investigation involving absentee ballots, according to a filing in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota. 

Muse Mohamud Mohamed allegedly made the false statements before a grand jury in more than one appearance last October. So far, this is the only indictment to result from the grand jury investigation.

Muse was arrested by the FBI on November 22, arraigned on November 24, and released on a $25,000 bond. As a condition of his release, Muse was asked to surrender to authorities his passport, green card, or any travel documents.  

The charging document, dated November 18, 2021, states that Muse “did knowingly make a false material declaration,” in describing how he handled three absentee ballots. The indictment–that is, a statement charging someone with a serious crime–quotes Muse’s grand jury testimony on or around October 14, 2021.

In those sworn appearances, Muse testified to collecting “three absentee ballots from the elections office.”

In his testimony to the grand jury, Muse said he took those ballots to voters who “filled them out” and voted. Muse then said he “turned those ballots back to the elections office.”

In alleging that he lied to the grand jury, the filing document asserts that, “instead, as [Muse] Mohamed then and there well knew, Mohamed did not take any ballots to the three voters named on the absentee ballot envelopes.” The indictment claims that Muse’s description of the absentee ballots represented a false declaration before a grand jury.

The court filings do not specify where Muse collected the ballots, in which election year, or what he did with them. But the allegations are likely to add fuel to the debate about claims of vote fraud that have led legislatures in many Republican-controlled states to create new barriers to voting. 

Tasha Zerna, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota, declined to comment.

In a second count, the indictment alleges that Muse knowingly made a false material declaration in further testimony—apparently on a different date—about an absentee ballot involving an unnamed “Voter A.” 

In a grand jury appearance, Muse testified, “I remember Voter A was the one who filled out the absentee ballots—or the absentee ballot—sealed it up, and then told me to drop it off for her.” 

Muse “well knew” that he “did not receive a sealed absentee ballot envelope from Voter A,” the indictment says. 

Charles Clippert, a court-appointed attorney for Muse, did not immediately return a request for comment. Sahan Journal also could not reach Muse Mohamud Mohamed.

A jury trial on the charges has been scheduled for May 9, 2022.

Friday January 21, 12:25 p.m.: This is a developing story and has been updated with additional information.  

Becky Z. Dernbach and Mukhtar M. Ibrahim contributed reporting to this story.

Michael Tortorello is the chief growth officer of Sahan Journal. As a writer, Michael spent 10-odd years contributing to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, often writing about homes and...