April 30th, 2010
03:44 PM ET
5 years ago

Man found guilty in Palin e-mail case

A federal jury in Tennessee has so far found a 22 year-old man guilty on two of four counts in a case that involved hacking into Sarah Palin's e-mail account.
A federal jury in Tennessee has so far found a 22 year-old man guilty on two of four counts in a case that involved hacking into Sarah Palin's e-mail account.

(CNN) - In their fourth day of deliberations, a federal jury in Tennessee has so far found a 22 year-old man guilty on two of four counts in a case that involved hacking into Sarah Palin's e-mail account nearly two years ago when she was the vice presidential nominee.

The jury has determined David Kernell, 22, is guilty on felony charges of intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization and obstructing an FBI investigation, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

Meanwhile, the jury acquitted Kernell on a third charge of wire fraud and remains divided over the fourth charge of identity theft.

It's unclear if the district court judge will order the jurors will order the jury to continue their deliberations, according to the News Sentinel.

In a statement on her Facebook page, Palin said she and her family are "thankful that the jury thoroughly and carefully weighed the evidence and issued a just verdict."

"Besides the obvious invasion of privacy and security concerns surrounding this issue, many of us are concerned about the integrity of our country’s political elections. America’s elections depend upon fair competition." she also wrote. "Violating the law, or simply invading someone’s privacy for political gain, has long been repugnant to Americans’ sense of fair play."


Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. danielatlanta

    She has a right not to be hacked. Too bad there are no laws against her kind of demagoguery and pandering to the lowest common denominator of American society (e.g., tea party-ers).

    On the bright side, now that the trial is over, we can send Sarah down to the Gulf to clean up the oil mess that threatens the ecology of about 5% of the Earth. Instead of "Drill, baby, drill" she can yell "Mop, baby, mop"!

    April 30, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Kate1230

    If justice was really being served around the country as so many say is the story with this case, James O'Keefe would not have received a slap on the hand for attempting to bug the phone of Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. But I don't see anyone talking about equal justice for him IOKIYAR, right?

    Kernell, a first time offender, should receive a lenient sentence as there was no lasting harm done if any at all. The campaign was not derailed or even impacted in a small way. Bristol Palin really stretched the truth on the stand in saying that she was all alone in the middle of the woods in Alaska. You can't get much safer than having Secret Service in a boat on the lake in front of you and stationed in front of the house, not to mention her fiancee by her side at all times with multiple firearms in the home.

    The average sentence for first time offenses of similar or equal nature has been six months suspended sentence and a $5,000 fine. Since Mrs. Palin claims to be a Christian, she should be advocating for leniency on his behalf. After all, she was able to eliminate her son's problems after he cut the brake lines to school buses (that could have caused a fatality) and was found to be abusing Oxycontin, and then there's Willow and her friends breaking into a home causing approximately $30k in damage. All the girls involved had the charges dismissed and only the boys, minors and young adults were charged. As for the damages, there has been no money exchanged nor have the Palins' made their daughter accept responsibility. Why is this overlooked? She has kept it out of the media so far but if she runs for office, look out for the skeletons to come flying out of the closet.

    Is David Kernell guilty of wrongdoing? Absolutely. But let justice be served equally for Republicans and Democrats.

    As for those who think Palin should run for President, the woman was stupid enough to use an unsecured email server despite being warned about it because she wanted to hide both personal and state email from any possible FOIA requests. Maybe you need to re-think her ability to hold any office, let alone that of President if these are the types of decisions she makes. My 14 year old son knows better than to use his birthdate or any info that is easily obtained for a security question. Why didn't Palin know better?

    April 30, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. JL

    Can I see her birth certificate, please?

    No, not that one, another one that looks more like I think it should.

    Those of you who don't think the President is an american citizen are either too stupid to do your homework, or too crazy to believe the facts in front of you.

    Go to factcheck.org and look it up, idiots, or go to the state of Hawaii and look in the archives at the library...it's probably easier to prove he's an american citizen than it is that you are.

    April 30, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. will

    So the kid is facing over a year in prison for gaining access to an e-mail account that Sarah left wide open.

    While I'm sure your zip code, where you met your spouse, and what school you went to are good for security questions if you aren't much of a celebrity, when you're running for national office you can't use such simple answers. It wouldn't matter if it was Obama, McCain, Clinton, or Biden, it probably would have happened and I'd have the same response. If you make the answers to your security questions things you talk about in your public speeches and interviews, you're going to get your account hacked.

    April 30, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. BillE

    April 30th, 2010 4:37 pm ET

    Oh oh, the DNC is going to need a new techie.

    I guess the Fox News directed Acorn undercover operation was ok

    April 30, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Ss

    Claudia in TX – what do you know about her service as governor? What do you know about her legal fees/cases? She was proved to be innocent – keep up, will you? Or, are you a liberal who drinks the kool-aid? She did nothing wrong – this idiot brat hacked into HER computer. Get a life!

    April 30, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Beth

    Hacking into someone's email accounts is wrong. But I still don't get how Palin can get away with using non government email accounts for doing government business. Maybe if she used those her account never would have been hacked.

    April 30, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. freddy

    Cammie (or is it commie?)

    Everything is oboy's fault after 9-11-09; didn't you get the memo form the DNC explaining how 9-11 and everything that followed until this very moment was W's fault? Ipso facto is not a town in sicily...

    ...even though Billary gutted the military and intelligence community for 8 years...but why let facts get in the way of a good leftist rant....

    April 30, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Bassman

    A couple of days ago another of the ethics complaints was dismissed. Sarah is now 26-0-01 in complaints. How does the media keep her poll numbers artifially low? By ignoring this story. The only thing Sarah is guilty of is loving her children and wanting them to be with her when she travels.

    April 30, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. JOey

    God you people are idiots...

    the crime does not fit the punishment

    April 30, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Wisconsinite

    uncle ellsworthey April 30th, 2010 4:48 pm ET

    and the left continues to express their fear of her.

    Oh for cryin' out loud . . . once and FOR ALL! We have no fear of this ignorant, bigoted, opportunistic fool! We don't respect her, we don't like her and she DISGUSTS us!

    April 30, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Melissa

    I am not a Palin fan but I can't believe how many of you are so narrow-minded as to believe guilt or innocence should be based on the likeablility of the victim. Love her or hate her, she had a right to privacy in her emails. This guy hacked her account, bragged about it and hoped his connections and her status as a lightening rod would insulate him from accountability. Put aside your obvious disdain for Palin and consider the facts. The jury obviously did.

    April 30, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Kool Aid Drinker

    Ms. Palin is "campaigning" across this country in protest against excessive government spending and taxation. She stepped down from her position as Governor, to save tax money. Yet, she has no problem wasting our tax money on sending a child to prison for a stupid crime. Seems like she only favors the tax system when its serving her personally. Why isn't anyone calling her out on this?
    Yes, I do think the kid should be punished but fine the hell out of him, don't send him to prison...for 20 years or 1 week.

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    he broke the law; deserves to pay his debt to society. She did not follow the rules and behaved at the very least unethically, potentially illegally and despite running for vice-president and continually griping that attacks on her intelligence were unfair, she had state business documented in a personal account with a password easy enough to guess by someone who didn't know her.

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Tom, Vermillion, Ohio

    Looks like the Palin phenomena is sinking slowly into the sunset. Not much newsworthy stuff lately. She needs to open her mouth and she something stupid so we can have some fresh bashing material to work with and comment about. This is getting kind of boring. Maybe she should publicly comment on the environmental benefits of the oil spill or something. (By the way, I would be impressed if she would show up in New Orleans with her bottle of "Dawn" and have at it with the wildlife)

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. oklahoma

    Thank you john mccane for bringing us this idiot this is the best gift the democrats could ever have.

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. matt

    This kid was a brat and a wise.... He laughed about his situation when he walked into court on the first day of the trial and his own attorney was not amused by his comment.

    His father is a Democratic politician and probably kne nothing about this act. However, the brat put his father in jeopardy, since many people at first thought it was a Dem. conspiracy.

    Thousands of Americans use simple passwords. However, that is no reason to attack the victim – Sarah Palin.

    Politics aside, she was the victim.

    Liberals/lefties get over it. She just torments you and will never run for President.

    She is making too much money being a critic.

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. Eric M.

    Why would a vice-presidential nominee be using a Yahoo mail account to conduct sensitive government issues with in the first place? If it hindered the campaign so much like she testified, shouldn't this business have been conducted on a more secure and access restricted account? Just saying, the so-called hacker was wrong, but still shouldn't there be protocols for politicians to follow in regards to e-mails to keep them secure? So simply deducing a password like this doesn't happen?

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Nurse Lisa

    he broke the law; deserves to pay his debt to society. She did not follow the rules and behaved at the very least unethically, potentially illegally and despite running for vice-president and continually griping that attacks on her intelligence were unfair, she had state business documented in a personal account with a password easy enough to guess by someone who didn't know her.

    April 30, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. carolyn

    Captain Awesome – I thought all you right wingers are supposed to be Christian. This young man made a stupid mistake. No one is saying he shouldn't be punished (I wouldn't want anyone getting into my e -mail) How about a little mercy- you act like he robbed a bank or killed somebody.

    April 30, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. idesign

    Sarah rising, Obama failing.

    Life is good.

    April 30, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Florida Joe

    PLEASE........Don't tell me this idiot actually thinks that this contributed in any way to her losing the election..............first time she opened her mouth she did more damage than this hacking did..........

    April 30, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. David, WA

    I am not a supporter of Sarah Palin, but Mr. Kernall broke the law and should be punished, as would any other person who also broke the law. Being a liberal, conservative, tea bagger, independent, etc, does not exempt one from his or her obligation to follow the law.

    April 30, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. C.K. Darwin

    She's an idiot, and I hope they uncover some more juicy gossip about her constant lies and deceit.

    April 30, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Katie

    20 years? Really? Name another first offender of a non-violent crime who received such a sentence? I always thought there was plenty of evidence to convict him of everything except identity theft, but I was hoping the jury wouldn't be swayed by the sensationalism (not to mention GROSS exaggerations) of the Palin clan. Bristol had a different cell phone when her number was hacked. The family had a land line (listed in the phone book) to use. They live in a semi-rural area not very far away from a Best Western Motel, (whose residents say they can clearly hear the construction noises going on at the Palin home – so you know it's not that isolated) and Bristol was always surrounded by Secret Service and never in any kind of danger from anyone. Sarah Palin's campaign was in no way disrupted and she absolutely had other ways of staying in touch with her family, in fact, had been urged to change her communication methods prior to this hacking by one of her advisors. As I said, there was enough evidence to convict this kid, but the Palins' notoriety shouldn't have made any kind of difference.

    April 30, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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