He won’t get fifty . . .

. . . but he might get a few!

From the left-wing :

Sarah Palin tells court that email hacker disrupted campaign and personal life

Former economics student David Kernell faces up to 50 years in jail if convicted of hacking into email account

Sarah Palin today addressed the jury at the criminal trial of the man accused of hacking into her email account during the 2008 presidential election campaign.

Palin spent 45 minutes in the witness box in a federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee where David Kernell, 22, faces up to 50 years in prison if found guilty of four charges.

Palin told the court that the “disturbance” to her email had disrupted her personal and political life. “If the intent was to disrupt it, it was successful. It caused a huge disruption in the campaign,” she said.

The prosecution alleges that Kernell, then an economics student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, broke into Palin’s Yahoo! email account gov.palin in September 2008 by answering simple security questions. He gained the information from Google, including her date of birth, the postcode of her home, and where she had met her husband, Todd. He is accused of changing her password to “popcorn” and posting some of her email contents on the internet under the pseudonym “rubico”.

The 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate told the court she first learned she was the victim of hacking on TV when she was on the campaign trail in Michigan. “I saw a picture of my kids on the television screen,” she said.

Kernell is charged with identity theft, wire fraud, entering Palin’s email without permission, and interfering with the FBI’s investigation into the hacking.

The prosecution alleges that Kernell, whose father is a Democratic politician, was motivated by a political desire to harm the Republicans‘ presidential hopes. The prosecution lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, told the jury the hacking was “disruptive to [Palin's] ability to communicate with her staff”. The defence counters that it was merely a “silly prank”.

Her daughter Bristol testified that she had received harassing phone calls and texts after her mobile phone number was revealed in one of the hacked emails posted online.

Silly prank or not, it’s still a crime!

I found this article due to a mailing I receive from a left-wing organization, RSN, or “Reader Supported News,” started up by Marc Ash. RSN wrote:

50 Years! This happens every day, every where. No one, but no one gets this kind of criminal prosecution. A politically charged prosecution to be sure.

It should be noted, of course, that this trial is being brought in the federal courts, which means it is under the supervision of Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Administration. RSN doesn’t seem to make that connection.

It seems pretty unlikely that Mr Kernell will get fifty years in prison for this: that’s the maximum sentence on each count, running consecutively. But a few years of room and board on the taxpayers will send a message to would-be hackers on future political campaigns: you break the law, and you just might go to jail.

22 Comments

  1. Marc Ash ain’t too bright, is he? People get convicted of multiple criminal counts every day. Some people even get convicted of enough counts to have a possibility of being sentenced to over 200 years in prison. Burglarize 20 houses, and you have 20 breaking-and-entering, 20 burglarizations, 20 possession-of-stolen-property, 1 possession of criminal tools. Have a hand-gun with you and that adds 20 firearms-specification. Have a partner, and that’s 20 conspiracy. That’s a lot of years possible if you look at maximum sentence and consecutive service. And there’s the financial aspect. You have the maximum fine possible for each crime. If you use your van or truck in the commission of the crimes, you forfeit your wheels. If you use your home to criminally possess the booty, you can forfeit your home.

    In other words, a discussion of maximum sentences for multiple counts in a single court case is fit for the water cooler and not much else. It is an extreme rarity for someone to be sentenced to the maximum and consecutive. In the vast majority of cases, less-than-maximum and served concurrently is the sentence (with the idiotic “time off for good behavior” which follows). And, of course, in several states, “10 years” does not actually mean 3652 24-hour days. It is possible to serve two years in 365 days, without good-behavior points.

  2. You make the point clear John. 50 years is way over the top, and doesn’t come close to fitting the crime. In fact, most Americans would say that anything near a punishment that severe would be more like revenge than justice.

    Reporting such an inflated number with a straight face, as if it might be a realistic outcome, is just a sleazy attempt to portray punishment for hacking Palin’s emails as ridiculously excessive. That’s why the defense calls the crime a “silly prank.” We can all agree that 50 years is excessive punishment for a college boy’s silly prank. Can’t we?

    But, what is the appropriate punishment for invading the private communication of a political candidate’s email. Would it be more or less significant if it had been a wire tap on Palin’s telephone conversations? Or, if it had been mail pilfered directly from the mailbox in front of Palin’s home?

    Consider if the shoe was on Hillary’s foot, what if the son of a GOP office holder was caught hacking Hillary’s email to her husband and her daughter, as well as to her political associates? Would some of the more wild-eyed Leftist bomb-throwers be saying that 50 years seems like a reasonable possibility then?

  3. ropelight asked:

    Consider if the shoe was on Hillary’s foot, what if the son of a GOP office holder was caught hacking Hillary’s email to her husband and her daughter, as well as to her political associates? Would some of the more wild-eyed Leftist bomb-throwers be saying that 50 years seems like a reasonable possibility then?

    No; they’d be advocating that George Bush and Dick Cheney be indicted along with the actual hacker, as just obviously having given the orders.

  4. Latest news: David Kernell refuses to take the stand in his own defense. Fears prosecutor’s questions.

  5. Silly prank or not, it’s still a crime!

    Agreed. Hey, how’s the search for the climategate email hacker going?

    Oh, what’s that? You’re not even looking for him? Guess it’s only a crime when it happens to Republicans?

  6. Chet wrote:

    Silly prank or not, it’s still a crime!

    Agreed. Hey, how’s the search for the climategate email hacker going?

    Oh, what’s that? You’re not even looking for him? Guess it’s only a crime when it happens to Republicans?

    I don’t know how it’s going. Perhaps you ought to ask the Justice Department, the one run by Democrats, for that answer. We evil reich-wing Republicans aren’t in the positions to be investigating that.

    Has it even been determined that the hacking falls under American jurisdiction? This could have been done from anywhere.

  7. I was going to chime in about that hack that framed ACORN and his attempt to phone tap a politician, but I don’t have the energy for an argument. I also don’t feel like defending the e-mail hacker here.

  8. Perhaps you ought to ask the Justice Department, the one run by Democrats, for that answer.

    Are you talking about the US Department of Justice? The one run by Eric Holder? Who was appointed as AG in 2001 by George Bush?

    That Justice Department “run by Democrats”, you mean?

  9. The Justice Department is going to get on the climategate hacker’s trail, right after they find out who put Hillary’s billing records on her table upstairs in the White House residence. But first they’re going to look into who looted Vince Foster’s office safe while the FBI waited outside in the hallway.

    Actually, there’s quite a long list of items waiting for the DOJ’s attention, like for example looking into Charlie Rangle’s unpaid taxes, and Chris Dodd’s sweetheart mortgage deals. Then there’s all those bribes for ObamaCare votes, and bogus accounting for Stimulus projects, and let’s not forget looking the other way while New Black Panther thugs intimidated voters in Philly. And, there’s Cold Cash Jefferson…

    Now, I know how important it is to unmask the climategate whistle-blower an’ all, people just can’t be allowed to expose phony government junk science, especially after the Left has worked for 20 years to perpetrate the greatest fraud on the American public since the New Deal.

  10. Are you talking about the US Department of Justice? The one run by Eric Holder? Who was appointed as AG in 2001 by George Bush?

    OMG …

  11. OMG …

    More than $22 million in federal funds slated mostly for the hiring of new officers for the D.C. police department might have been lost if it weren’t for a letter from the Justice Department accidentally falling into the hands of Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last week, Holder said yesterday.

    From 2000. Who was President in 2000?

    Eric Holder served as acting Attorney General from January 2001 to the end of that February. (Check his Wikipedia page.) Who was President during that time? George W. Bush. I dunno, seems pretty obvious to me. I guess he’s obviously an Arch-Democrat, since he’s black or whatever, but if that’s the case, why did Bush appoint him acting AG?

    Try not to pretend that Eric Holder appeared out of nowhere in 2009, ok? He was Obama’s pick for AG because – surprise, I was right – he served in that capacity under a Republican, ergo he was a good, bipartisan pick.

  12. Dude, get real.

    It says “Holder briefly served as Acting Attorney General under President George W. Bush until the Senate confirmed Bush’s nominee John Ashcroft.” Which means that since Holder was already the freakin’ DEPUTY AG (appointed by Bill Clinton), until Ashcroft was confirmed the guy served less THAN TWO WEEKS. He wasn’t “appointed” Attorney General. You said, again “Are you talking about the US Department of Justice? The one run by Eric Holder? Who was appointed as AG in 2001 by George Bush? This is ridiculously and purposely misleading.

    Holdovers such as this occur regularly during transitions — as is evident by Holder’s meager Jan. 20 to Feb. 2 tenure.

    Oh, and you asked “Who was President in 2000?” The answer is Bill Clinton. It also seems you’re failing to distinguish between “Deputy AG” and “AG.”

    LOL …

  13. I guess he’s obviously an Arch-Democrat, since he’s black or whatever, but if that’s the case, why did Bush appoint him acting AG?

    He didn’t “appoint” him. See previous comment. Less than two weeks means he’ll do absolutely nothing except make sure the papers are pushed until Ashcroft gets in.

    And what does him being black have to do with anything? I notice that liberals cannot grapple with the human cost of using gratuitous references to race …

  14. I didn’t make that claim, did I?

    And why are you such a stickler for precise detail all of a sudden, Chet? You weren’t with your AG claim about Holder now, were you?

  15. Democrats are racists, it’s in their DNA. The Democrat Party was the Party of Slavery, the Party of Segregation, the Party of Secession, the Party of Jim Crow, the Party of Separate but Equal, and the Party of Massive Resistance. It’s the Party of George Wallace, Bull Connor, and the party of the KKK.

    Them’s the facts, inconvenient facts, but facts nevertheless.

  16. Chet asked:

    What’s the basis for the claim that “Democrats” run the Justice Department, Hube?

    Hube responded:

    I didn’t make that claim, did I?

    And why are you such a stickler for precise detail all of a sudden, Chet? You weren’t with your AG claim about Holder now, were you?

    I, of course, am the one who said that the Democrats run the Department of Justice. All of the Bush Administration political appointments are gone now, and they were replaced by people nominated by President Obama.

    The President did not fire all 93 US Attorneys when he came into office, but has been replacing them piecemeal. In February, he replaced four Bush Administration holdovers, and this month he nominated seven more.

  17. Indeed, Dana. Chet was merely looking to play more word games after making two whopper statements, so he had to make a big deal about the “degree of Democratness” of the DOJ.

  18. All of the Bush Administration political appointments are gone now, and they were replaced by people nominated by President Obama.

    Why does that mean they are Democrats?

  19. “‘Hey, how’s the search for the climategate email hacker going?

    Oh, what’s that? You’re not even looking for him? Guess it’s only a crime when it happens to Republicans?’

    I don’t know how it’s going. Perhaps you ought to ask the Justice Department, the one run by Democrats, for that answer. … Has it even been determined that the hacking falls under American jurisdiction? This could have been done from anywhere.”

    Who knows, and “whose search?”, as you say. But, why the insinuation that a hacking that took place on a computer system in East Anglia UK, has some relevance here?

  20. Chet wrote:

    All of the Bush Administration political appointments are gone now, and they were replaced by people nominated by President Obama.

    Why does that mean they are Democrats?

    Other than a token Republican or two — Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would be an example — the vast, vast majority will be Democrats, and will be people loyal to the Obama Administration.

    Did you think President Obama would be appointing people he didn’t think would support him?

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