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Tennessee: Grand jury doesn’t indict student in Palin e-mail case September 25, 2008

Posted by cyberpatrol in 4chan.org, Anonymous, Hacking.
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Chattanooga Times Free Press 24 September 2008

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga ended its session Tuesday without indicting a University of Tennessee student who authorities believe may have hacked into vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account.

The FBI’s investigation into David Kernell’s activities, however, is ongoing, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Knoxville is overseeing the case, but U.S. Attorney Russ Dedrick declined to comment Tuesday on when, or if, another grand jury will resume hearing evidence from the FBI’s investigation.

“Grand juries can pursue investigations for many sessions,” Mr. Dedrick said.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chattanooga confirmed Monday that the local federal grand jury would be evaluating the case Tuesday. Grand juries are responsible for hearing basic evidence in a case and then deciding whether to indict a suspect for a specific crime.

Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public, and it is not known what evidence the grand jury here might have heard Tuesday in relation to the case against Mr. Kernell.

Three students arrived at the federal courthouse on Georgia Avenue about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday to testify about Mr. Kernell, the son of state Rep. Michael Kernell, D-Memphis. The students did not provide their names and did not answer questions about the case. An attorney with them from Maryville, Tenn., declined comment, as well.

The students were allowed to leave the courthouse through the back door, where members of the public generally are not allowed.

FBI agents from Knoxville exited the front doors of the courthouse about 10 a.m., also declining to comment on any aspect of the case.

A hacker last week broke into one of the Yahoo Inc. e-mail accounts used by Alaska Gov. Palin, the running mate of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The McCain campaign acknowledged the act, calling it illegal and an invasion of her privacy.

The FBI began investigating Mr. Kernell over the weekend, according to the Justice Department. Investigators searched his apartment in Knoxville, but they did not file any criminal charges immediately.

Mr. Kernell, 20, is an economics major at UT. Kernell family attorney Wade V. Davies wrote in a letter Monday that “the Kernell family wants to do the right thing, and they want what is best for their son.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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