Indiana prosecutor denies encouraging Wisconsin violence
March 24, 2011- Updated 3:59 p.m. Carlos Lam has admitted writing the email and resigned as deputy prosecutor of Johnson County, according to a statement from the Johnson County Prosecutor.
The new, post-resignation version of the story is here.
The email came to Gov. Scott Walker from the personal account of a deputy prosecutor and Republican activist in Indiana.
After praise for Walker, the email — sent Feb. 19, during union demonstrations against Walker’s budget repair bill — then took a darker turn. It suggested that the situation in Wisconsin presented “a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”
“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” the email said.
“Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam.”
Email headers with detailed IP addresses suggest that the message was sent from Indianapolis.
But Carlos F. Lam, the deputy Johnson County, Ind., prosecutor and an Indianapolis resident, said he never wrote it.
Reached Tuesday by phone at the number listed on the email, Lam confirmed his email address matched the Hotmail address appearing on the Walker email, but said he had never written to Walker.
“I am flabbergasted and would never advocate for something like this, and would like everyone to be sure that that’s just not me,” he said, after being read the email.
Asked his views on Scott Walker, Lam said, “I think he’s trying to do what he has to do to get his budget balanced. But jeez, that’s taking it a little bit to the extreme,” he said of the email’s suggestion to fake violence. “Jeez!”
Lam said he hasn’t filed a police report, but he intends to do so by the end of the week.
He said he was minivan-shopping with his family when the email was sent.
Walker’s bill to balance the budget and strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees was introduced Feb. 11 and triggered protests involving tens of thousands of people at the Capitol for weeks.
The email was sent the same Saturday on which another Indiana law-enforcement figure, state Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Cox, tweeted that riot police should “use live ammunition” to clear the Capitol of protesters.
Cox was fired Feb. 23 after Mother Jones magazine published the suggestion from his private Twitter account.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism discovered the email to Walker among tens of thousands released to media organizations last week as part of an open-records lawsuit settlement with Isthmus and the Associated Press. It was in a folder produced by the governor’s office called “Pro,” full of emails supporting the governor’s budget repair bill.
A lawyer in the governor’s office, Nate Ristow, said most of the emails to Walker were sorted into folders automatically by a computer, though some were added to the folders manually.
Cullen Werwie, Walker’s press secretary, said no one at the office had seen the email or contacted Lam. Werwie condemned the email’s suggestions Monday in a statement to the Center.