Palin Hacker Asks Court for Probation

By John Wagley

Although prosecutors are seeking prison time, the man convicted earlier this year of hacking into Sarah Palin’s e-mail has asked a court for probation.

David Kernell, 22, was convicted this past April of misdemeanor computer intrusion and a felony count of obstruction of justice. The convictions could carry a sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but prosecutors have said they are seeking an 18-month prison sentence.

An attorney for Kernell wrote in a court motion that his client should be spared prison for several reasons including that the e-mail intrusion “was an aberration” from Kernell’s normal course of conduct.

The attorney also wrote that future legal violations by Kernell had been sufficiently deterred by Kernell's “public humiliation, trial, and conviction.” He also wrote that overall deterrence had been achieved in the case “by educating the public that accessing another’s e-mail account is conduct that violates federal law.”

In the case, Kernell used information that was publicly available about Palin to change her Yahoo address password and access e-mails. Prosecutors have accused Kernel of seeking information “to derail a national campaign,” according to a report in The Smoking Gun. At the time, Palin was John McCain's vice presidential pick.

Palin has said the e-mail hacking was the “most disruptive and discouraging” incident during the presidential campaign, according to reports.

Kernell is scheduled to be sentenced November 12 in a Tennessee court.

Photo credit: It's Our City/flickr/creative commons license


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