When Golden contacted Lam for a story first published yesterday, she reported that the deputy prosecutor denied he had written the e-mail, and he was going to file a police report. The rather odd alibi: “He said he was minivan-shopping with his family when the email was sent.”

Lam, who asked that his name not be used, said he was particularly concerned since “the person who wrote this seems to know a lot about me” and his account “had been hacked in the past.” After being read the email, he said he took down his Facebook page, changed his cell phone number, email passwords, “library, medical, bank, student loan, and a whole host of records,” and was afraid for his and his family’s safety.

Madison Police Det. Cindy Murphy said that if Lam’s account was hacked and his identity was stolen, either Wisconsin or Indiana could have jurisdiction over that crime. If he filed a complaint, it would be straightforward to request information from Hotmail and Lam’s Internet service provider (ISP) about the location of the computer logged into his account when the email was sent, said Murphy, who specializes in computer forensics.

“If we run all this down and it does turn out that he was hacked into, then he is a victim, and he should be outraged—and somebody should be held responsible,” she said. “And no one can fake the data that’s held by the ISPs.”

It turns out that Lam was not out checking the roominess of potential family vehicles at the time the e-mail was sent, after all. In an update to her story, posted the same day as the original, Golden writes:

At 5 a.m. Thursday, expecting the story to come out that day, Lam called his boss, Johnson County, Ind., Prosecutor Brad Cooper, and told him he had been up all night thinking about it. “He wanted to come clean, I guess, and said he is the one who sent that email,” Cooper said.

He came into the office and gave his resignation verbally, Cooper told the Daily Journal in Franklin, Ind. The resignation was announced after the Center’s initial story was published.

Email headers with detailed IP addresses suggested that the message was sent from Indianapolis. Lam, an Indianapolis resident, at first told the Center he never wrote it.

It’s important to note that Walker’s people claim they never saw the e-mail, and obviously, no false flag strategy was put in place—unless someone pulled a gun on the governor and I didn’t hear about it. Still, it will be interesting to see if Golden—and enterprising journos like her—find more stories in the governor’s inbox.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.