Palinís e-mail hacker starts prison term

Washington, Jan 14: David Kernell, a student convicted of hacking US potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin's e-mail during the 2008 presidential campaign, has reportedly begun serving his prison term at a federal corrections institute in Ashland, Kentucky.

The BBC quoted American officials as saying that Kernell had started serving his term from January 10 onwards.

During a hearing in November last year, Judge Thomas Phillips indicated that Kernell's sentence of a year and a day should be served at a halfway house to reflect the case's "unique circumstances".

"Even if the defendant serves his sentence at a halfway house, this combined with a criminal conviction is significant punishment," he said at the time, adding that it would mark "a sufficient restriction of the defendant's liberty".

The hacking occurred in September 2008, when Palin was running as the Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Kernell is the son of a Democratic Tennessee state legislator, reportedly accessed Palin's inbox, and then shared the details online.

A copy was obtained by the whistleblower website 'Wikileaks' that currently leaked US diplomatic cables, and details of her messages were published in several media outlets, the report said.This caused problems to the Palin family, as they received abusive emails and phone calls. An FBI detailed investigation eventually led to Kernell's arrest five days later.

Although he was eventually charged with four crimes - including identity theft and fraud - a court in Knoxville, Tennessee, only found him guilty of two lesser counts after a two-week long trial last May.

Copyright Asian News International/