David Kernell's trial on charges related to the hacking of Sarah Palin's e-mail account two months before the November, 2008 election begins today. The 22-year-old defendant is the son of long time Tennessee State Representative Mike Kernell, a Democrat from Memphis. The younger Kernall David Kernell has pleaded not guilty to four counts, identity theft, wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer in furtherance of aiding and abetting the same offense, and obstruction of justice.
Richard Locker of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported Monday:
His Knoxville attorney, Wade Davies, declined to discuss the case Friday, saying only, "I'm ready to try the case in the courtroom."An AP story adds some details:
Palin has been subpoenaed by prosecutors to testify at the trial, scheduled to start Tuesday morning with jury selection before U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas W. Phillips. Final pretrial arguments are set for today.
Judge Phillips and Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley have rejected several defense motions, including one last week to permit a written questionnaire of jurors to screen for potential political bias from extensive publicity.
Another Kernell motion denied would have required introduction of several e-mails dealing with state issues, to show the account was not entirely "personal." It cited a letter from Palin's attorney saying some e-mail not turned over included "copies of discussions between the governor and her staff on a court of appeals judge appointment, comments on pending legislation ... communications from the attorney general ... and several documents that would qualify as protected personnel records."
Mike Kernell said he plans to attend to legislative and constituent business and to drive to Knoxville on evenings when he can to support his son. The defendant's mother, Dr. Lillian Landrigan -- an Army dentist who did a tour of duty in Iraq and is now stationed in Honolulu -- will attend the trial, her former husband said.
Convictions on all four felony charges — identity theft, wire fraud, intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization and obstructing an FBI investigation — could send Kernell to prison for up to 50 years.Steve Gilbert comments on AP's take at Sweetness & Light. And at Black & Right, young Kernell's sob story is Bob Parks' "Boo Hoo Of The Day."
"If I was the individual being charged I would be concerned, particularly the other party," East Tennessee State University political analyst David Briley said. "Politics and religion are pretty close to the vest here."
Kernell's father, Democratic Rep. Mike Kernell of Memphis, has served in the Tennessee House since 1974. He has not been linked to the case against his son, and he declined to be interviewed Monday.
An attorney for Palin, Thomas Van Flein of Anchorage, Alaska, said in an e-mail that the former governor has been subpoenaed by prosecutors "and she will honor that commitment." Van Flein declined to comment about the case or about how Palin feels about it.
Prosecutors predicted the trial could last up to 10 days but would not say when Palin would testify. Kernell has been free on bond since pleading not guilty after the indictment was unsealed in October 2008.
Now, if investigators can only find the arsonists and would-be murderers who, obviously incited by violence-inducing leftist hate speech, doused all of the exits with accelerant and torched the Wasilla church that Gov. Palin and her family attends, another hate crime would go to a jury, too.