Dunn ordered to appear in court for HP spying probe

Thursday, October 5th 2006, 1:01 pm
By: News On 6

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Ousted Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairwoman Patricia Dunn agreed to surrender to authorities Thursday, a day after she and four others were charged in HP's ill-fated investigation to ferret out the source of boardroom leaks.

Dunn was scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. PDT in Santa Clara County Superior Court to set an arraignment date. She was charged Wednesday along with former HP chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker and three investigators _ Ronald DeLia, Matthew DePante and Bryan Wagner.

The five each face 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 charge carries a fine of up to $10,000 and three years in prison.

HP CEO Mark Hurd is not among those named in the complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court _ nor was HP's former General Counsel Ann Baskins, who had some oversight of the company's investigation of media leaks.

At a news conference, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said his investigation of the company, long revered for its ethics and professionalism, was not yet complete and hinted more charges could be ahead.

``One of our state's most venerable institutions lost its way as its board sought to find out who leaked confidential company information to the press,'' Lockyer said.

Arrests warrants were issued and Lockyer's spokesman said Thursday that prosecutors had contacted attorneys for all the defendants except DePante, and their clients have agreed to voluntarily surrender.

Dunn's lawyer, James Brosnahan, said his client has fought for good corporate governance her entire career and will fight the charges ``with everything she has.''

``These charges are being brought against the wrong person at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons,'' he said in a statement.

Lawyers for the others charged did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The telephone rang unanswered Thursday morning at Matthew DePante's office in Melbourne, Fla. No listed home number for him could be located. Wagner did not immediately return a call.

DeLia asserted his innocence in a statement he read to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

``I am innocent of these charges,'' DeLia said. ``I've been a professional private investigator for more than 30 years. I respect the law and I did not break the law in the HP investigation.''

He refused to elaborate on his statement or take questions.

HP said in a statement it is cooperating with Lockyer as well as federal authorities who are also exploring possible criminal charges. The Palo Alto-based company declined further comment.