Former HP Board Chair Pleads Not Guilty in Spying Case

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Patricia Dunn, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, pleaded not guilty today in response to four felony charges related to the HP board-spying scandal.

Dunn made a brief appearance at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose, California, to answer charges that she had ordered an investigation to identify board members who may have leaked board deliberations to news media. According to charges filed by the California Attorney General's office, private investigators hired by HP used false pretenses to gain access to the phone records of directors, HP employees, and journalists--an action that the state claims is illegal.

Dunn spoke only once during her 5-minute appearance, answering "Yes" when Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler asked her whether she waived her right to a preliminary hearing within ten days. Somnath Raj Chatterjee, a partner at the San Francisco law firm of Morrison & Foerster, represented her at the hearing.

Specifics of the Charges

The charges against Dunn include using false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility, wrongful use of computer data, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit each of those crimes.

At her side in the courtroom--and as she walked through a crowd of reporters and photographers covering her every move--was her husband, William Jahnke.

The state has filed the same charges against Kevin Hunsaker, a former senior lawyer at HP, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on November 7. Also charged are Ronald L. DeLia, a Boston-area private detective; Matthew DePante, manager of Action Research Group, a Melbourne, Florida, information broker; and Bryan Wagner, a Littleton, Colorado, man who is said to have obtained private phone records while working for Action Research.

Attorneys will return to Superior Court on Friday to discuss the scheduling of future hearings. Dunn and the other defendants are not required to appear at that meeting.

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