Bristol Palin says e-mail hack led to scary calls

Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Sarah Palin's daughter testified Wednesday against a former college student charged with breaking into her mother's e-mail account, saying she got anonymous phone calls and hundreds of text messages after her cell phone number was posted online.

Wade Payne / The Associated Press
Wade Payne / The Associated Press

"There was one that really scared me," Bristol Palin testified in federal court. She said she was concerned when a bunch of boys called, claiming they were at her front door and needed to be let in.

"We live in the middle of nowhere in Alaska ... in the middle of the woods," Palin said.

Palin said her number was included with a photo she snapped of her brother Trigg taking his first bite of solid food and e-mailed to her parents while they were away during the 2008 presidential campaign.

David Kernell, a 22-year-old former economics major, is accused of invading Sarah Palin's Yahoo! account after she was picked as the Republican vice presidential candidate. It was reported that she used private e-mail for some government business while governor of Alaska.

Authorities say Kernell correctly guessed answers to personal security questions based on published facts about Palin, reset the password to "popcorn," then made screenshots of contents of her account and posted some of the information on public websites.

Kernell has not been accused of the harassing calls, e-mails and text messages that Bristol Palin and a former aide described to jurors. His attorney claims the e-mail intrusion was just a prank.

Bristol Palin testified in the second day of the felony trial that she had to turn her phone over to investigators and went without phone service for weeks because her grandparents' Wasilla home had no land line and couldn't sign a new cell phone contract as a 17-year-old.

She said her cell phone number 'wouldn't have been posted if it hadn't been hacked into."

"There were threatening messages and there were harassing messages and there were all sorts of messages," she testified.

After court ended for the day, Kernell was asked by WMC-TV of Memphis what he thought of Bristol Palin.

He replied, "She's not my type."

Ivy Frye, a longtime friend of the Palin family in Wasilla, Alaska, and former special assistant to Palin when she was governor, testified Wednesday that the posting of the screen shots led to numerous "vile" and "vulgar" e-mails being sent to the accounts of Palin's children and other relatives and friends. Frye said all their e-mail addresses were exposed.

Frye said she was the first to be notified hours after the e-mail intrusion. She said Palin was on the road campaigning, about two weeks after becoming the vice presidential candidate. Frye said she immediately contacted Todd Palin, among others.

Frye said she later saw her own e-mail address posted online and in "various national publications."

Jurors also have heard from a records manager with Yahoo! and from Kernell's former University of Tennessee roommate, who said Kernell was politically opposed to Palin, but never said anything about wanting to hurt her and her running mate, Sen. John McCain.

Defense attorney Wade Davies has attempted to show that the e-mail account was accessible to other people, was sometimes used for political and official messages and was not just private.

Frank Bailey of Anchorage, a former Sarah Palin campaign aide who also worked in her state administration, testified that he set up the e-mail account for Palin to use for "her personal and partisan" political communication.

Bailey also said that after the intrusion he "archived" the e-mail messages and later turned over the records to Palin's attorney.

Bristol Palin testified she was aware of another message between her mother and then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell about a radio talk show host. Parnell is now governor.

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