UT student pleads not guilty in Palin email access case

UT student pleads not guilty in Palin email access case

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David Kernell leaving court Wednesday. David Kernell leaving court Wednesday.

By SHELBY BAKER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- A UT student pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in federal court in Knoxville Wednesday morning to accessing the email account of Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin without her permission.

David Kernell, 20, was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury.

Kernell turned himself into authorities Wednesday morning and then appeared in court in shackles and handcuffs before Judge Clifford Shirley. Kernell's attorney is Wade Davies. 

According to the indictment, Kernell gained access to Gov. Palin's personal email by resetting the password after answering a series of security questions.

Kernell then read the emails and posted screen shots of the email and other personal information on a public Web site.

His trial date is set for December 16 before Judge Phillips. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 2.

Kernell was released from custody Wednesday on several conditions, including that he must report to his probation officer as advised and he can't have any contact with Gov. Palin or her family.

He also had to surrender his passport and must restrict his travel to East Tennessee.

Plus, Kernell has been ordered not to own a computer or to access the Internet unless he's reading his personal email or checking on his classes at UT.

Kernell is prohibited from talking to any potential witnesses in the case and he admitted to Judge Shirley that he's dating someone in South Carolina who may be a witness. His attorney said the matter would be taken care of.

If convicted, Kernell faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three year term of supervised release.

Kernell's father is Democratic state Rep. Michael Kernell.

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