The man convicted of breaking into Sarah Palin’s e-mail account during the 2008 presidential election is now serving his sentence in prison – not a halfway house as a judge recommended.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, David Kernell, 23, is serving his time at the Ashland Federal Correctional Institution in Kentucky. His projected release date is Nov. 23, 2011.
Kernell was convicted April 30, 2010, of one count of misdemeanor unauthorized access to obtain information from a computer and one count of obstruction of justice after a weeklong trial. He was acquitted of wire fraud, and the jury deadlocked on a charge of identity theft. He was sentenced in November to one year and a day.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Phillips recommended Kernell serve his sentence at a halfway house as opposed to prison. Kernell is the son of Tennessee state representative and Democrat Mike Kernell.
At the time of the crime, Palin was running as the Republican candidate for vice president. She was also facing controversy in Alaska, where she was accused of using her private e-mail to conduct state business.
To break into Palin’s account, the younger Kernell abused Yahoo’s password recovery system. By answering the security questions associated with Palin’s account, he was able to reset the password and access Palin’s inbox. Afterwards, he posted screenshots of the account to a 4chan message board, as well as the new e-mail password he had created.
The security questions required the user to know Palin’s birthday, zip code and where she met her husband – all information Kernell said he discovered through searches on Wikipedia and Google.
Kernell later apologized to the Palin family for the incident. In a note on her Facebook page after his conviction, Palin wrote she was “thankful that the jury thoroughly and carefully weighed the evidence and issued a just verdict.”