Archive for Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sarah Palin testifies in e-mail-hacking trial

April 24, 2010


— Sarah Palin testified Friday about the disruption and hurt caused when her e-mail account was hacked during the 2008 presidential campaign and said outside court that there should be consequences for what happened.

She declined to say if she thinks conviction of the 22-year-old defendant should lead to prison or if community service would be punishment enough. “That’s up to the judge,” she said when she stopped to talk to reporters outside the courthouse.

Former University of Tennessee student David Kernell, the 22-year-old son of a Democratic state lawmaker, is charged with hacking the Yahoo! e-mail account as Palin campaigned in 2008 as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

Kernell faces up to 50 years in federal prison if convicted of identity theft, mail fraud and two other felony charges. His lawyer has said the case is a prank and Kernell had no criminal intent.

Asked outside the courtroom if she thought the charges against Kernell were excessive, Palin said, “I don’t know, but I do think there should be consequences for bad behavior.”

The former Alaska governor told jurors about the disruption the hacking caused for her family and close friends when their e-mails and phone numbers were publicized on the Internet.

The posting of family photos and e-mails on the web fueled rumors that Palin and her husband had affairs and that her youngest child, Trig, was not really her son, she said in court. Palin’s daughter, Bristol, told jurors earlier this week that she got harassing calls and text messages after screen shots of e-mail from the account revealed her cell phone number. A former Palin aide also described receiving vulgar e-mails.

Kernell isn’t accused of the harassment, but prosecutors say he broke into Palin’s e-mail account in September 2008 by correctly providing her birth date and ZIP code and correctly answering that she met her husband in Wasilla, Alaska.

After the e-mail was hacked, prosecutors said Kernell bragged about it in obscenity-laced Internet postings. An FBI computer forensics specialist and other witnesses testified about photos of the Palin children and a reference to Bristol as “the prego one.”

“In case you missed it on the front page of the National Enquirer at the time, Bristol was pregnant,” Palin said after testifying.

The e-mail intrusion occurred after news reports revealed that Palin had used the private account to discuss some state business with staff. Palin said she carried a separate BlackBerry for state business.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 12 months ago

Asked outside the courtroom if she thought the charges against Kernell were excessive, Palin said, “I don’t know, but I do think there should be consequences for bad behavior.”

"The e-mail intrusion occurred after news reports revealed that Palin had used the private account to discuss some state business with staff. "

But only if it's someone else's bad behavior, right Sarah?

beatrice 7 years, 12 months ago

This is no joke in my opinion. What if it had been a Timothy McVeigh hacking her account, or a foreign terrorist trying to figure out where people would be at a certain time? Would we think this just a harmless prank and suggest community service? What if it had been Obama's e-mail account? There are security breaches that you just don't mess with when it comes to that level of government (or potential government in Palin's case). No matter how much I don't like her, she was potentially our vice president at that point. You just don't fool around with people in this way at that level. I think the kid should go to prison, at least for a couple of years.

broadpaw 7 years, 12 months ago

good point, this is a serious trial with serious implications. too bad most of the comments are going to be about people's opinions on Palin as a politician.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 12 months ago

Tom, even conservative moderates can be outraged by Palin's behavior. And outrage is not fear.

tomatogrower 7 years, 12 months ago

I do agree this guy should go to jail, but I guess I wonder where our priorities are when people who molest children often get less than 50 years. I say this guy, joking or not, should get plenty of jail time. We are going to have to do a lot to protect our privacy nowadays. And Palin was a candidate for a major office at the time. Many times candidates are apprised of events in Washington that could be important to national security. This guy may have only been joking, but this is like joking about blowing up an airplane when you are at an airport. Stupid and illegal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 12 months ago

What this guy did was certainly wrong, and he deserves some sort of penalty for it (although 50 years in prison is clearly excessive) but if something similar had happened to Obama, Palin (and Tom) would likely have seen nothing wrong with it, and cheered the perp as some sort of hero.

tomatogrower 7 years, 12 months ago

Your right, bozo. Weren't they cheering the guys who hacked into the scientist's emails? Hacking is ok, if it helps them, but not ok when it hurts them? Hacking is wrong period! Palin, Obama, my next door neighbor, me. No one has a right to see my personal email. I have a right to see business emails of my employees, but I have no right to read their personal emails, and would never do that. I don't know if this all started when Hart dared the media to follow him, or what. But Americans have become quite the voyeurs. It's pretty disgusting.

Richard Payton 7 years, 12 months ago

Same reason google is leaving China the hack job.

vinividivici 7 years, 12 months ago

I don't understand why she thought using a yahoo account to email state staff was a good idea. In addition to that stupid move, all the kid needed to know was her zip code, birth date, and where she met her husband. Too bad you can't press charges on someone for being a moron.

On a side note, I find it mildly amusing that she uses YAHOO.

beatrice 7 years, 12 months ago

Yes, she used a yahoo account. As Palin demonstrates on a regular basis, it isn't illegal to be stupid in America.

verity 7 years, 12 months ago

What Kernell did is despicable and obviously, as seen by his subsequent behavior, not meant as a joke. However, 50 years seems way too much when murderers and child molesters get much less and drunk drivers who take people's lives often are hardly punished at all.

As tomatogrower and others have said, hacking is wrong and you can't support one person doing it and condemn another. (Well, you can, but then you would be a hypocrite.)

However, I think Ms. Sarah Palin needs to be held responsible for some of her behavior also.

beatrice 7 years, 12 months ago

What if it had led to national secrets being released? 50 years then? What if it had been one of the 9 militia members recently arrested? 50 years then? Final question, do we sentence people on intended humor of the whole thing, or on the law that was broken?

Maybe they can put him in a cell with the ACORN "pimp."

whats_going_on 7 years, 12 months ago

and let me guess...Obama doesnt scare you, he just "makes you mad."

whats_going_on 7 years, 12 months ago

Why did the tea party adopt her...isn't the tea party supposed to be anti-left and right. That confuses me.

Can't stand the woman, she's such a freakin sellout.

whats_going_on 7 years, 12 months ago

But anyway, yeah, that kid was in the wrong, for sure. Dumb idea is dumb.

Jay Keffer 7 years, 12 months ago

beatrice did so well in the first post, but backslid for the remainder.

I was ready to post a hearty agreement but kept reading further. Darn.

Palin is no Einstein, but most folks don't know that Yahoo is not really secure, nor should be used for senstive or private emails. The number of execs I have seen over the years use Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. to forward NPI data to their home accounts to work on over the weekend is mind blowing. They have no clue how unsafe those methods can be. Call her a dope, but that is a separate issue from the hacker.

And for those that don't like the 'inequity' of crimes and punishment, it isn't an 'either/or' choice. Make the crimes that have great impact even tougher, don't lower it on other crimes that merit a stiff penalty.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 12 months ago

HomeSlice: right on bro!

I also have noted how many businesses and organizations rely on gmail, yahoo, hotmail, for their main e-mail. incredible risks! I have an account on one of them, but do not rely on it for anything personal, private, or important!

I suspect that Sarah is not as computer savvy as I am. Mr. Obama insisted on carrying a Blackberry though the Secret Service said it increased his risk. who's really the stupid one???

if the secret service with all its research and experience tells me that if I carry in my pocket a gift card from burrito king it will increase my risk, sorry, I'm ditching the Burrito King card, have to pay cash, or send a secret service agent to pick it up, LOL!

I applaud Bea's first post, only her first one. and I will say that it is silly to rely on yahoo for any kind of personal/private communication, that is if you understand it. being computer unsavvy does not disqualify someone to be president.

and Tom, remember Sarah could become president: a little known senator with less than seven months' experience in the senate started his campaign for president, having had no executive experience at all. his first executive decision: name Jawbone Joe Biden to run for Vice President, LOL you think Sarah's stupid? first you've got Jawbone Joe, then you've got somebody who thinks he 's his best choice for VP??? LOL.

now as to Kernell, note he is the son of a local dem politician: the nut didn't fall far from the tree, did it: hacking, obscenity; soon he'll run for office, have an affair with one of his staff or an intern, etc.

but I digress.

Kernell should do a lot of jail time, min 10 years. no matter how easy yahoo is to hack, his intent was to hack. if I leave my door open does it excuse the theif?

Prairielander 7 years, 12 months ago

I heard he just guessed that her password was "youbetcha".

verity 7 years, 12 months ago

Question: Is it, or is it not, illegal in the state of Alaska to conduct official business on an email system other than the state's official one?

I am not sure where to look to find this out.

It's not only a matter of security, but also of people conducting business that will not be recorded by the state.

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