The case of alleged hacker David Kernell is proceeding toward a scheduled April 20 trial date in spite of several legal challenges raised by the defense team. While a student at the University of Tennessee, Kernell is alleged to have broken into Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo e-mail account and then posted images of the hack online. Investigators quickly focused on the student after the September 2008 attack and Kernell was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2008. Kernell was subsequently charged with three additional counts in March of last year.
A bit of legal wrangling has been going on since then with Kernell's trial date having been moved from May 15, 2009 to October 27, 2009 and finally to April of this year. Kernell's defense got a further setback yesterday when Federal Judge Clifford Shirley ruled that FBI agents did not violate Kernell's Fourth Amendment rights when they searched the entire contents of the defendant's hard drive. Kernell was seeking to quash the information gained through this search, claiming agents exceeded the scope of the warrant and should have performed a "particularized search" instead of the broad search that was carried out. In a 41-page ruling, Judge Shirley stated:
"Contrary to Defendant's argument, [the executing officer] seized all of the computer equipment, not each individual file. This was proper because all of the computer equipment and storage devices were within the scope of the search warrant."
Kernell remains out on bond until his trail begins later this month.