Palin Hacker Indicted

Tennessee man, 20, charged with accessing Republican's Yahoo! account

David Kernell

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Palin Hacker Indicted

OCTOBER 8--A Tennessee man has been indicted for hacking into the e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

David Kernell, 20, was charged with illegally accessing Palin's Yahoo! account "by researching and correctly answering a series of personal security questions," according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. A copy of the indictment can be found here.

After accessing Palin's account, Kernell, pictured at left, allegedly changed its password to "popcorn" and made screenshots of the account's directory as well as certain messages, photos, and "other personal information." Those screenshots eventually were widely distributed online.

If convicted of the felony charge, Kernell, an economics major at the University of Tennessee, faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Kernell, whose father is a Democratic state representative in Tennessee, turned himself in this morning to law enforcement authorities and is scheduled to be arraigned later today. (3 pages)