Stolen Sarah Palin E-Mails Were Public Record, Defense Lawyer Says

The lawyer for a Tennessee college student charged with hacking into Gov. Sarah Palin's Yahoo e-mail account last year now says his client couldn't have violated the Alaska governor's privacy.

That's because a judge had already ruled her e-mails, some of which dealt with official state of Alaska business, were a matter of public record, Wired magazine's Web site reports.

Defense layer Wade Davies also argued that the Palin family photos that 20-year-old David Kernell allegedly obtained were not private either — because Palin and her family were "the subjects of untold numbers of photo-ops."

Last September, a hacker allegedly used public information to guess Palin's Yahoo password, reset it and then posted screenshots of her e-mail and the new password to an online forum at

Kernell was indicted on one felony count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in October.

In March prosecutors filed more charges against him, including one count of identity theft for allegedly impersonating Palin to access her e-mail account; one count of wire fraud for allegedly scheming to defraud Palin of property by obtaining information from her account and posting it to a Web forum; and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence.

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