POLITICS
05/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sarah Palin Email Case: Ex-Gov To Testify In Email Hijacking Trial

Ex-Gov. Sarah Palin is scheduled to travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, next month to testify in a case regarding the 2008 hijacking of her Yahoo! email account.

University of Tennessee student David C. Kernell, the son of Tennessee state Rep. Mike Kernell, is charged with "stealing Palin's identity, improperly accessing her personal e-mail account, allowing at least one other person to access it and trying to wipe from his laptop evidence of his alleged crimes."

According to the case files, Kernell is not charged with hacking into Palin's account -- he instead used publicly available information to find out the security question, which he then answered, allowing him to change the account's password.

This, the Justice Department says, is where Kernell's crimes began. After he reset the password, Kernell is accused of using the new one to scan the account for politically damaging information, which he never found. Prosecutors also contend that Kernell posted the new password online, allowing at least one other person to access Palin's e-mail.

Kernell's attorney, Wade Davies, argues that his client's actions warrant nothing more than a misdemeanor charge, and that the current severity of the charges is a clear result of Sarah Palin's celebrity status.

The trial is set to begin on April 20th.