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Published: Thursday, 10/9/2008

Democrat's son indicted in Palin e-mail hacking


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The son of a Democratic Tennessee state lawmaker pleaded not guilty yesterday to hacking the e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

David Kernell, 20, of Knoxville, Tenn., entered the plea in federal court in Knoxville, the same day prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging him with accessing Mrs. Palin's e-mail account without authorization.

Mr. Kernell, an economics student at the University of Tennessee, was released without posting bond.

Mr. Kernell's father is state Rep. Mike Kernell of Memphis. The lawmaker has said he had nothing to do with the incident.

According to the indictment, Mr. Kernell accessed Mrs. Palin's account on Sept. 16 after answering a series of questions. He reset the password to gain access to it. Authorities say Mr. Kernell then read the contents of the account and made screenshots of the e-mail directory, e-mail content, and other personal information, later posting some of it to a public Web site.

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