Defendant doesn't testify in Palin email trial

Defendant doesn't testify in Palin email trial

Posted: Updated:
David Kernell David Kernell

By HARLOW SUMERFORD
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Both sides gave their closing arguments Monday without David Kernell taking the stand in his federal trial on charges of breaking into Sarah Palin's email account.

Attorney Wade Davies rested the defense's case after only putting one witness on the stand on Friday, an FBI agent who said Kernell had been emotionally upset.

The prosecution told the jury in its closing argument that Kernell was persistent in gaining access to Palin's account, and chose not to back down once he did it.

The prosecutor said Kernell posted Palin's account password so others could "ruin her life" and "derail the campaign." Palin was the Republican vice presidential nominee at the time.

Kernell was afraid of the FBI, the prosecution said, so he thought he deleted everything from his computer, but he failed.

In the defense closing, Davies told the jury what Kernell did is closer to a prank than a crime.

Davies pointed out that Kernell didn't use the information he obtained or try to sell any of the pictures. He also didn't make phone calls to Palin's family or send them text messages.

Davies also said Kernell took responsibility for his actions, and the government is taking the case against him too far.

The prosecution gave a rebuttal closing, telling the jury that a prank is playful and funny, but there was nothing funny about what Kernell did.

The judge will instruct the jurors and give them the case for deliberations on Tuesday.

Palin, the former governor of Alaska, testified Friday.

She said the email breach was disruptive to her personal life and her campaign, and she felt that was the motivation for Kernell's actions.

Kernell is accused of gaining access to the email account by providing Palin's birth date and zip code to Yahoo's password retrieval system. Kernell correctly answered questions for the password retrieval.

He's charged with four felonies, including identity theft, wire fraud, computer fraud and obstruction of justice.

If convicted, the maximum possible penalty is 50 years in prison.

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