Friday, 24 September 2010

Bristol Palin's testimony in the David Kernell trial - Lying with the stars? - UPDATE!

David Kernell's sentencing is expected for today. Hopefully the judge will not be too harsh on David, who had the audacity to guess Sarah Palin's cunning password "Wasilla High" for her yahoo-account and then post some screenshots and the password on the infamous "4chan" internet forum. More importantly, after realizing that he had done a very foolish thing, David then immediately deleted the obtained files on his computer, an action which resulted in a felony conviction due to "Destruction, Alteration or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations."

Here again are the exact details of the conviction - in the worst case, David Kernell could have received four felony convictions, but due to the impressive efforts of his defense lawyers, he was convicted of "only" one felony and one misdemeanor:

David Kernell Jury Verdict 30 April 2010 - page 1

David Kernell Jury Verdict 30 April 2010 - page 2

I have just watched a few hours of Monty Python's celebrated court sketches, which somehow provide the right mindset when dealing with the next topic - the testimony of Bristol Palin in the David Kernell trial from April 21, 2010, which Palingates obtained, thanks to a generous donor.

The reason why Monty Python is the right preparation is that nothing involving the Palins is ever clear, unambiguous and straightforward. There are always slightly surreal elements in what they do and say, and it's the same with this testimony.

John Cleese court

The main reason why Bristol Palin was called to be a witness at this trial was the fact that her cell phone number was included in the published emails which appeared in several outlets such as Gawker, and several strangers then started to ring her.

From the very beginning, the questioning gets off on a slightly weird note:

Testimony 1

Shortly afterwards follows a strange statement by Bristol Palin:

Testimony 3

This again is an odd line of questioning, because what has it to do with the incident in question? When Sarah Palin's email was hacked, Sarah and Todd were on the campaign trail. Sarah Palin for example famously had two blackberries: One with her personal yahoo-account, over which she also routinely conducted state business, and a second one with the state email account. So what prevented Bristol from sending Sarah an email, or sending Todd an email? What about using Willow's cellphone? Surely she had one as well? Or why couldn't she borrow a cellphone from the secret service agents who were protecting her?

Let's move to another excerpt. Bristol than is asked where she obtained the cell phone from:

Testimony 4

OK, Bristol confirms that she couldn't sign a contract, so her "boyfriend at the time" got it for her, in May 2008. The boyfriend at the time was of course Levi Johnston. Nice way of avoiding mentioning his name.

But this part of Bristol's statement, as unimportant as it might seem at first, opens a huge can of worms, and I don't think we will be able to solve the mystery today, as we haven't got all the details.

Which mystery?

On September 7, 2010, Mercede Johnston published on her blog a post about "the man who set my mother up." In this post, she explained some of the details about the phone her mother used:

"It is still a mystery as to how Junior got my mother’s phone number because the phone she was using was originally Bristol’s phone. (My mom bought both Levi and Bristol new phones right after she found out that Bristol was pregnant because Sarah refused to pay for hers anymore. But after one of Levi and Bristol’s many fights she SHIPPED her phone back to my mom in the MAIL. Since my mom had been using an old brick phone she decided to upgrade to Bristol’s Blackberry and got rid of her old one). So I don’t know whether Bristol was in contact with Junior, or if he just did his research to find my mother’s number. We are still confused by the circumstances leading up his initial contact."

From the description it's pretty clear that Mercede is talking about the same phone, because initially, the timeline fits. Bristol and Levi told Sarah that Bristol was pregnant at the beginning of May 2008. According to Mercede, Sarah refused to pay for Bristol's phone any more. Was this because Sarah was upset? Possibly, we don't know for certain.

A this point, the two descriptions still match.

But apart from that, not much seems to fit together. Because later in the testimony, Bristol then states:

Testimony 8

So Bristol turned the phone over to the Secret Service on September 25, 2008. When did Bristol receive the phone back? When was it sent back to Sherry?

Is Bristol telling the truth when she says that this is the phone that Levi/Sherry purchased for her?

Are we then going to believe that Sherry afterwards used this number for drug deals, despite the fact that this number was published together with Sarah Palin's hacked emails?

I am unable to clear this confusion. Maybe Mercede or someone else can explain.

Let's have a look at more parts of Bristol's testimony:

Testimony 5

Bristol didn't know how old Trig was at the time?

Well, it's her "brother", and she was at the hospital on April 18, 2008, when Trig was officially born! How could she not know how old Trig was?

Was she trying to avoid to go on the record with a specific birth date for Trig?

Let's move on to the next stage of her testimony:

Testimony 6

Bristol receives scary voicemail messages, in the middle of the night, people tell her over the phone they are at her doorstep - frightening, isn't it?

But didn't Bristol have secret service protection at this time? According to Gryphen, who quoted Sherry Johnston, Bristol enjoyed 24-hour protection by the secret service during the course of the campaign.

Bristol conveniently sidestepped mentioning this fact. The jury must have thought that a poor seventeen-year old girl was scared to death. Maybe they would have viewed the situation differently if they had known that Bristol never was in any danger?

Then comes the kicker, and this statement was already extensively discussed immediately after the trial:

"That is scary because we live in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. We live in the woods."

Sorry, Bristol, that's simply not true.

"Last time I checked, the Palin’s growing compound in Wasilla was a stone’s throw away from a major highway on one side, and the Best Western Lake Lucille on another side. The zoning is designed to maximize the number of lots around the lake, so plenty of neighbors. And didn’t her mom keep talking over and over about how Wasilla was a thriving city, and the fastest growing community in Alaska?"

It seems that Bristol Palin wanted to ensure that the situation appeared in the grimmest light possible - when in reality, it's frankly not true at all that there was any point of "danger" during this whole episode. Bristol just had to switch her phone off to avoid the nuisance, that's all.

In addition, the "communication problems" seems to be greatly exaggerated.
But what impression did the judge receive? One can only guess and hope that he didn't take these exaggerations too seriously!

Finally, Bristol makes another rather strange statement:

Testimony 7

One of "our only sources" of communication?

I try hard to have sympathy with Bristol, because she is a victim of her mother like many other people. However, these terribly ambiguous statements, which seem to be specifically tailored to make Bristol appear like a poor Gretel alone in a house deep in the woods, crying because she cannot communicate to anyone any more is so utterly ridiculous and distorted, given the real situation in which Bristol was in, that she really deserves no sympathy for this terrible testimony.

Furthermore, I sincerely believe that she didn't come up with these statements on her own. The goal was to make the actions of David Kernell appear in the worst light possible, and we can only hope that Bristol didn't succeed.

This is usually the moment when in the Monty Python court sketches, everyone starts to sing a really silly song. ;-)

Please download Bristol Palin's testimony HERE.



We just received the information from Knoxville that the sentencing of David Kernell has been postponed to October 29, 2010. This has been confirmed by the media in Knoxville as well as by the lawyers of David Kernell. We don't know the reasons for the postponement.


This new article in explains the latest developments in the trial:

"Kernell faces sentencing Oct. 29. His penalty range is likely to be 15 to 21 months, and Davies is expected to push for probation."

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