The identity theft case against former Hewlett-Packard Co chair Patricia Dunn has been thrown out of court, closing a turbulent chapter in HP’s history.
Dunn did not enter a plea, despite a statement earlier yesterday from California Attorney General Jerry Brown saying that she planned to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
Three other former HP hires pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of fraudulent wire communications and were given community service sentences.
All the charges were related to the so-called pretexting scandal, which saw HP hire detectives to obtain the private phone records of journalists and its own directors.
Dunn, who revealed last year she is currently undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, was understandably relieved.
I am pleased that this matter has been resolved fairly, and want to express my deep gratitude to my husband and family, who never lost faith in me throughout this ordeal, she said in a statement.
Former HP ethics director Kevin Hunsaker, private investigator Ron DeLia and Matthew Depante, manager of information broker Action Research Group, all pleaded guilty to misdemeanors yesterday.
Bryan Wagner, an independent investigator at ARG in Colorado, pleaded guilty to federal charges in January, as part of a plea deal that saw the California charged dropped. He could face jail time for identity theft.
It’s a complete result for Dunn, who was originally charged with felonies including using false or fraudulent pretenses to garner confidential information from a public utility, identity theft, unauthorized access to computer data, and conspiracy.
The charges were made by California’s previous attorney general, Bill Lockyer, but were bartered down when Brown came into office this year.
We had numerous discussions with the California Attorney General’s office and appreciate very much that the administration of the new Attorney General decided to allow the judge to dismiss the case against Pattie Dunn, said Dunn’s attorney, James Brosnahan, in a statement.
Starting two years ago, HP hired private investigators to track down the source of board-level leaks to the media. The detectives accessed phone records by impersonating their targets over the web and phone, according to HP statements.
One HP director, George Keyworth, was ultimately revealed to be at least one reporter’s confidential source, though he denies giving confidential information to the media.