Militia-linked Michigan sheriff hires private eye to probe supposed 'voter fraud' in county Trump won by 32 points

Election clerks in Michigan are reporting strange interactions with a man investigating election fraud conspiracy theories for a controversial sheriff.

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf faced calls to resign in October after sharing a stage with the Michigan Liberty Militia and admitting he knew some of the men arrested for a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He claimed they may have been planning a lawful citizen's arrest.

In December, Leaf sought to impound voting machines as he pushed Donald Trump's "Big Lie" about election fraud. That case was ripped by a judge for being legally deficient.

On Friday, Bridge Michigan reported Leaf, "is now working with a private investigator named Michael Lynch, a former security official for DTE Energy in Detroit."

Township clerks interviewed by The Hastings Banner said the investigation appeared to focus on Dominion Voting Systems tabulator machines.

"I was told by my clerks that they were told not to say anything to each other or to me," Barry County Clerk Pam Palmer, a Republican, told the newspaper. "So I don't know what (Leaf and his team) are trying to hide. I'm told by the investigator that they're doing this under the element of surprise."

The investigation also focused on Palmer, Rutland Charter Township Clerk Robin Hawthorne told the newspaper.

"It was Pam this and Pam that," Hawthorne said.

"He was concerned about thinking the cards had some kind of programming in them, that when Trump got so many votes they flipped the votes to Biden," she said, "which is ludicrous because Trump won Barry County by 65 percent."

"I don't think he has a clue on how the machines work," Hawthorne added.

Thornapple Township Clerk Cindy Wilshire agreed.

""It didn't seem like they had an idea of how an election is run," Wilshire said.

Bridge Michigan spoke with Leaf on Thursday. He reportedly confirmed he is part of the investigation, but would not say who hired him.

"Bridge Michigan used a Freedom of Information Act Request to reveal a trove of documents showing Leaf's personal attorney discussed the initial investigation with Trump allies including Sidney Powell and a foundation with ties to L. Lin Wood, attorneys who are also facing possible sanctions for speculative claims in a failed lawsuit that sought to declare Trump the 2020 election winner," the publication noted.

Watch Leaf respond to outrage over his militia ties:

Barry Co. sheriff not stepping down despite militia concerns