Twenty-year old David Christopher Kernell, a University of Tennessee student who is the son of state Representative Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, according to AP – has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tennessee, on charges for intentionally accessing without authorization Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account, the governor of Alaska and Sen. John McCain’s running mate.
Kernell turned himself in to authorities and made his first court appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley where he plead not guilty.
According to the indictment, Kernell used Yahoo’s password recovery tool to gain access to Sarah Palin’s e-mail, by answering questions with information available to the public with some research. Kernell also posted screenshots of the e-mail and other personal information to a public Web site, thus providing access to the account by others.
Rep. Mike Kernell said last month he knew bloggers had said his son had claimed responsibility for breaking into Palin’s private account. He said he had nothing to do with the case and didn’t know anything about it.
If convicted, Kernell faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release. The case could go to trial December 16.