*NEWS*CHARGES DROPED AGAINST EX-HP CHAIR

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*NEWS*CHARGES DROPED AGAINST EX-HP CHAIR

 user 2007-03-15 at 11:31:00 am Views: 91
  • #17422

    Judge Drops Charges Against Ex-HP Chair
    SAN
    JOSE, Calif. (March 07) – A judge dropped the charges Wednesday against
    former Hewlett-Packard Co. board Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who was
    accused of fraud in the company’s boardroom spying scandal.Three other
    defendants in the case will also avoid jail time after their lawyers
    entered no contest pleas to misdemeanor charges of fraudulent wire
    communications in Santa Clara Superior Court.The charges against former
    HP ethics chief Kevin Hunsaker, and private investigators Ronald DeLia
    and Matthew DePante will also be dropped in September after they
    complete 96 hours of community service and make restitution, the judge
    said.State prosecutors announced earlier Wednesday that Dunn and the
    three other defendants had agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges.
    According to a release from the attorney general’s office, the
    community service requirement for Dunn would be waived because of her
    health; Dunn revealed last year that she was being treated for advanced
    ovarian cancer.The California Attorney General’s office issued a
    statement saying that its news release “mistakenly predicted that the
    HP defendants would enter ‘guilty’ pleas to a misdemeanor count of
    fraudulent wire communications.”"This is a vindication of Patty Dunn in
    every sense of the word,” said her lawyer, James Brosnahan. “It shows
    what she’s maintained throughout: that she’s innocent of these
    charges.”The four were initially charged in October with four felony
    counts: use of false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential
    information from a public utility; unauthorized access to computer
    data; identity theft; and conspiracy to commit each of those
    crimes.Each of those charges carried a fine of up to $10,000 and three
    years in prison.While the deal with state prosecutors allows all four
    defendants to escape jail time, federal prosecutors have said their
    investigation of the HP leaks probe is ongoing.

    Dunn, Hunsaker, DeLia and Depante did not attend the hearing.
    A
    fifth defendant, private investigator Bryan Wagner, was also charged in
    October. But the state’s case against him was dropped after Wagner
    pleaded guilty to the same charges in federal court and agreed to
    testify for the prosecution.No other federal charges have been filed in
    connection with HP’s effort to spy on its own board members.The
    boardroom scandal shook Silicon Valley’s oldest and biggest technology
    company, with Dunn stepping down as chairwoman and several other top
    executives resigning over their roles in the subterfuge.HP’s
    investigation, which took place in 2005 and 2006, erupted into a
    national scandal after HP disclosed that the detectives it hired had
    obtained the private phone records of directors, employees and
    journalists in an effort to ferret out the source of media leaks.Using
    a shady tactic known as “pretexting,” the detectives obtained the
    Social Security numbers of their targets and fooled telephone companies
    into divulging their detailed call logs.