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Knoxville (TN) – On October 27, the trial for David Kernell, the University of Tennessee college student and son of Democratic Representative from Memphis, Mike Kernell, who was accused of accessing the Yahoo email account of Governor Sarah Palin is set to take place. Whereas he originally faced one felony count of illegally accessing a protected computer, he will now be facing additional charges, including one count of identity theft for the alleged impersonation of Palin, one count of obstruction of justice for destroying evidence, and one count of wire fraud for posting Palin’s information on a public forum, all of which are felonies and carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Last year during the presidential election, publicly available information was utilized to reset the password for the personal email account of Gov. Sarah Palin. That information was then posted on an online 4chan.org bulletin board. The passwords to the account were then reset.
The stolen e-mail messages were then posted on the Wikileaks.org website on September 17th. The “hack” attracted the attention of the national media.
It didn’t take long for bloggers to determine who the anonymous hacker (deemed “Rubico”) who posted the Palin data was. Rubico’s efforts were an attempt to derail Palin’s campaign for Vice President.
Kernell entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, according to court records. Neither his attorney, Wade Davies nor the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, Gregory Weddle, would comment.
According to the FBI in Knoxville, TN, if Kernell is convicted on two out of the four counts, he could be facing up to 20 years in prison, a $250,00 fine and 5 years of supervised release.