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Accused Palin e-mail invader David Kernell's defense rests

6:38 PM, Apr 26, 2010   |    comments
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Courtroom sketch of David Kernell by artist Bobbie Crews

The jury will begin deliberations Tuesday in the case against a former UT student accused of the breach of then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail.

Closing arguments are taking place Monday.

The defense ended its closing argument around 2:30 p.m. 

"David made bad choices, but not criminal ones," Wade Davies told the jury.

He said the case does not merit the attention it has received.

"The government wants to turn Googling and guessing into theft," Davies said.

After a break, prosecutor Greg Weddle got the last word, starting at 2:45.

In his closing argument, Weddle said, "There is nothing childish about this. It's not a prank, it's a crime, a serious crime."

Weddle told jurors that David Kernell "set out to do something malicious from the very beginning" and that he tried to cover his tracks.

He also said the evidence shows the sequence of many steps Kernell took in the process of changing her email password, posting content from her account on a website, and posting the new password he created.

"At any point along the way he could have said, 'You know, this is a bad idea.'"

The jury returns to court Tuesday morning at 9:00 to hear instructions from Judge Thomas Phillips. They'll then begin deliberations.

Kernell faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on the four felony charges.

He did not testify in his own defense Monday.

Defense rests

The defense has rested in the trial of a former UT student accused of breaching Sarah Palin's e-mail by answering security questions, then posting the account information online for others.

David Kernell did not testify in his own defense during the trial; the defense rested Monday morning just before 10 a.m.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are working through the wording of the jury charge with Judge Thomas Phillips.

When the jury comes back into the courtroom, closing arguments will begin.

Prosecutor Mark Krotoski spoke first, with an hour and 15 minutes allotted.

Defense attorney Wade Davies started his closing argument at 1:15, with an hour and 45 minutes allotted. Davies did not expect he would take the entire time.

Prosecutor Greg Weddle will finish with a half-hour.

The judge expects to send the jury home after closing arguments. They'll get instructions on Tuesday morning, then start deliberations.

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