8 October 2008
Court docket and filings:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tennessee Man Indicted for Alleged Hack of Governor Sarah Palins
WASHINGTON David C. Kernell, 20, was indicted by a federal grand jury
in Knoxville, Tenn., for intentionally accessing without authorization the
e-mail account of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Acting Assistant Attorney
General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney James
R. Dedrick for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced today. Kernell
turned himself into federal authorities for arrest and will be arraigned
today before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley.
The single count indictment, returned on Oct. 7, 2008, and unsealed today,
alleges that on approximately Sept. 16, 2008, Kernell, a resident of Knoxville,
obtained unauthorized access to Gov. Palins personal e-mail account
by allegedly resetting the account password. According to the indictment,
after answering a series of security questions that allowed him to reset
the password and gain access to the e-mail account, Kernell allegedly read
the contents of the account and made screenshots of the e-mail directory,
e-mail content and other personal information. According to the indictment,
Kernell posted screenshots of the e-mails and other personal information
to a public Web site. Kernell also allegedly posted the new e-mail account
password that he had created, thus providing access to the account by others.
If convicted of the charge, the defendant faces a maximum of five years in
prison, a $250,000 fine and a three year term of supervised release. A trial
date has not been set.
The case is being prosecuted by Section Chief Michael DuBose and Trial Attorney
Mark Krotoski of the Criminal Divisions Computer Crime and Intellectual
Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Weddle of the U.S.
Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The case is
being investigated by the FBIs Anchorage and Knoxville field offices.
An indictment is merely an allegation. Defendants are presumed innocent until
and unless proven guilty in a court of law.