Hacker Trial Halts Palin's Celebration of Reading Appearance

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This week the trial began for David Kernell, the young man who hacked into Governor Palin's email when she was running for Vice President of the United States. Kernell is the son of Democratic Representative Mike Kernell of Memphis.

ABCNews reports:

Jurors in the trial of a former college student charged with hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail account in 2008 heard testimony Tuesday that the accused man didn't believe in what Palin wanted to do when she was the Republican vice presidential candidate.

Palin has been subpoenaed to testify at the trial of 22-year-old David Kernell, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle said in court for the first time that Palin's husband, Todd Palin, and their daughter, Bristol, are also potential witnesses in the trial that could last a week or longer.

Kernell's attorney told a federal jury that his client had no criminal intent and guessed his way into Palin's personal e-mail.

However, Kernell's former college roommate gave his testimony to open the trial.

"He definitely talked about how he didn't believe in what she wanted to do," David Omiecinski, Kernell's former University of Tennessee roommate, testified as the chief prosecutor used video monitors to show jurors copies of the e-mail and obscenity-laced Internet postings traced to Kernell.


Kernell was a 20-year-old college student majoring in economics when prosecutors say he hacked into the Yahoo! account Palin sometimes used for state business.

A prosecutor told jurors that Kernell had hoped to derail the campaign for vice president.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips denied pre-trial defense motions to have prospective jurors answer a questionnaire asking if they have strong political feelings about Palin. Kernell's attorney, Wade Davies, cited Palin's speaking slot at a tea party movement convention and frequent television appearances.

Convictions on all four felony charges — identity theft, wire fraud, intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization and obstructing an FBI investigation — could send Kernell to prison for up to 50 years.

Read the full article here.

Because Governor Palin has to testify at the trial, she had to bow out of a previously scheduled event: the Barbara Bush "Celebration of Reading," which is taking place tonight.

Shelby Hodge of Culture Map writes:

Palin was to be the headliner of the annual literacy fundraiser. Celebration of Reading officials got word only Wednesday of this glitch in the programming. It's a major disappointment to Palin fans, who were looking forward to a real-life glimpse of the charismatic politico.

Jean Becker, the former President's chief of staff, said this morning, "The Bushes are obviously disappointed but they certainly understand . . . and these are circumstances beyond her control."

Read more here.

David Kernell is a young man, and there's no time like the present for him to learn that actions have consequences.


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