Apr 30 03:48 PM US/Eastern – By BILL POOVEY – Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The son of a Democratic Tennessee lawmaker was convicted Friday on two charges in the hacking of Sarah Palin’s e-mail account while she campaigned on the Republican presidential ticket in 2008.
The federal court jury reached its verdict against David Kernell, 22, after four days of deliberation. He was found guilty of obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer, but was acquitted on a charge of wire fraud.
The jury deadlocked on a charge of identify theft. Prosecutors reserve the right to have a new trial on that charge. The charge of obstructing an investigation carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and unauthorized access to a computer is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum one-year sentence.
Kernell’s defense attorney maintained the hack amounted to college prank, not a crime. Kernell was a student at the University of Tennessee at the time. Prosecutors argued it was a more serious effort to damage Palin’s political campaign.
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