Student who hacked Sarah Palin's e-mail account found guilty

By From News Services
Saturday, May 1, 2010; C03

KNOXVILLE, TENN. -- A college student who hacked into Sarah Palin's e-mail account and posted some of its contents on the Internet was found guilty Friday.

The jury convicted David Kernell, 22, on two charges: unauthorized access to a computer and obstruction of justice. He was found not guilty of wire fraud, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on identity theft.

Judge Thomas Phillips declared a mistrial on the identity theft charge but did not set a date for sentencing.

Kernell was charged with breaking into Palin's e-mail while she was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008.

Defense attorney Wade Davies has said Kernell's action were a prank; prosecutors claimed he was trying to damage Palin's campaign.

The obstruction charge alone carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years; the misdemeanor count is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Palin issued a statement on her Facebook page, thanking the jury and prosecutors and explaining the case's importance.

A subdued Kernell had no comment, and he was released on bond while barred from using a computer except for school assignments and e-mail.

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