Grand Jury Hears Witnesses in the Palin Hacking Case:
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the grand jury considering the Sarah Palin e-mail hacking incident heard testimony today from the roommates of the suspect, David Kernell. Glenn Reynolds comments, "I don't know why they would take a case to the grand jury this fast."

  That's what I would expect, actually. The prosecutors are taking the case to the grand jury now because they need to nail down the testimony of Kernell's roommates. The FBI executed the warrant at Kernell's apartment on Saturday night, and it's likely that they retrieved a whole bunch of different computers. To tag Kernell with the crime, they need to show that Kernell was the one at the computer that gained access to Palin's account at the time access was gained.

  There are some forensic ways of showing that, giving the timing of the attack and records kept on the laptop, if Kernell hasn't zeroed out his hard drive or otherwise tried to delete records on it. But the testimony of Kernell's roommates is likely to be very valuable for investigators, assuming that Kernell was in fact the wrongdoer here. The roommates can testify about where Kernell was when the attack occurred, what computer he was using, what computer he normally used, whether anyone else had access to the computer with the evidence found inside, etc. In addition, the roommates can testify about what Kernell may have told them at the time or how he was acting afterwards.

  Why get this evidence now and not later? One important reason is that the grand jury power lets the government get the roommates under oath: They will be sworn in to testify, and they can face perjury charges if they do not tell the truth. The government would want to get this now while memories are fresh and before the case is ready to be indicted. Once the indictment comes, the grand jury's work is done and the roommates can't be sworn in to testify until a trial (if the case goes to trial).