The new charges include fraud, unlawful electronic transmission of material outside Tennessee and attempts to conceal records to impede an FBI investigation. Previously, the only charge directed against the presumed hacker was unauthorized access of a protected computer.
The accused, David Kernell, currently a student at University of Tennessee, has pleaded not guilty to the new charges. The new charges have been widely criticized.
According to US law, unauthorized access of a protected computer (Kernell’s initial charge) is usually charged as a misdemeanor. The only exception available is when it’s used to commit a separate crime. Prosecutors claim that the other crime was the unauthorized access of Sarah Palin’s email.
Kernell’s case dates from September last year, when he managed to put together publicly available info to successfully reset Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email.
The next hearing, scheduled this May, has been moved to October 27.