A jury has convicted David Kernell on two of the four charges brought against him by authorities in federal court. The charges addressed the claim that the student gained unauthorized access to the private e-mail account of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.While Palin was satisfied, drawing comparisons to Watergate, the defense was unhappy, equating the actions of Kernell to nothing more then a "college prank," but in my opinion, that defense just does not fly.
The student was accused of hacking into Palin's Yahoo e-mail account during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The jury has answered the charges with a split verdict. Kernell was convicted of obstruction of justice and misdemeanor computer intrusion in connection with his hacking of Palin's e-mail account and was found not guilty on a charge of wire fraud.
James O'Keefe, the conservative activist behind the ACORN videos last year, tried to use that same defense to explain his actions in Louisiana's senator Mary Landreiu's office earlier this year, but as I had written back then, this argument was weak. While more believable in Kernell's case, what he did was still wrong, but I am glad to see that he was not found guilty of all the charges - he did not commit wire fraud or identity theft. Hopefully this will teach these young people that their actions may have consequences. While Kernell may have been playing around with the email and serendipitously "hacked" into Sarah Palin's email address, he should have known that what he was doing was wrong and should have stopped. Instead, he continued, posting the email's contents online.
The one thing that I had hoped for was that there would have been emails of real value, such as state business being conducted from private email accounts to avoid disclosure laws, but we now will probably never know...