Former University of Tennessee student David Kernell, convicted of hacking into Sarah Palin’s e-mail account, is seeking probation rather than the recommended jail term when he sentenced on Nov. 12.
Kernell, the 22-year-old son of a Democratic Tennessee lawmaker, hacked into Palin’s Yahoo e-mail in September 2008, while she was the Republican vice presidential candidate, and posted photos and screenshots from her account. A federal court jury found him guilty in April of obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer.
Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of 18 months, charging that his motive was to “derail a national campaign” by searching for incriminating information about Palin, according to documents obtained by The Smoking Gun website.
In a Wednesday filing in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tenn., Kernell asked a judge to sentence him instead to probation, claiming that his crime was an “aberration from his normal course of conduct” and citing his “youth and emotional condition.”
His filing also maintained that his “public humiliation, trial, and felony conviction are enough to deter any future violations of the law.”
It also contends that “general deterrence has been achieved in this case by educating the public that accessing another’s e-mail account is conduct that violates federal law.”
Palin and her daughter Bristol testified about harassment and disruption they suffered after some e-mail was posted online showing personal cell phone numbers.
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