October 8, 2008
The son of a Democratic Tennessee state lawmaker pleaded not guilty today to hacking the email account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
David Kernell, 20, of Knoxville, Tenn. entered the plea in federal court in Knoxville, the same day prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging him with intentionally accessing Palin's email account without authorization, according to the Associated Press.
He was released without posting bond, but the court forbade him from owning a computer and limited his Internet use to checking email and doing class work.
Kernell's father is longtime state Rep. Mike Kernell of Memphis, chairman of Tennessee's House Government Operations Committee. The lawmaker has said he had nothing to do with the hacking incident.
David Kernell was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Knoxville and faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Trial is set for Dec. 16.
The indictment alleges that on Sept. 16 Kernell reset the password to Palin's personal email account to gain access to it. Authorities say Kernell then read the contents of the account and made screenshots of the email directory, email content, and other personal information, later posting some of the information to a public Website.
— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading
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