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Report: Plea talks in HP case, new director named

Report: Plea talks in HP case, new director named

Possible plea agreements in the Hewlett-Packard spying case are to be discussed at a Dec. 4 meeting; HP has also named a new director.

Defense and prosecution attorneys in the Hewlett-Packard (HP) spying case are scheduled to meet with the presiding judge Dec. 4 to discuss possible plea bargains, the San Jose Mercury News reported Saturday.

California Deputy Attorney General Robert Morgester requested the meeting with defense counsel for five defendants charged in the case, although he cautioned that plea bargains will not necessarily be agreed upon in the meeting, the Mercury News reported.

Former HP chairman Patricia Dunn pleaded not guilty Nov. 15 to each of four felony charges in the case before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler in San Jose, California. Former HP legal counsel Kevin Hunsaker pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Nov. 7.

Dunn is alleged to have ordered, and Hunsaker supervised, an internal investigation to identify which directors leaked details of confidential board deliberations to the media. HP hired outside private investigators who allegedly used false pretenses to obtain from phone companies the calling records of directors, HP employees and reporters who cover the Californian technology company.

Not guilty pleas have also been entered for Ronald L. DeLia, a Boston-area private detective; Matthew DePante, manager of Action Research Group, a Florida information broker; and Bryan Wagner, a Colorado man who is said to have obtained private phone records while working for Action Research.

The state filed charges against each of 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.

Also, HP announced Nov. 17 that G. Kennedy Thompson, chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of financial services firm Wachovia, has been elected to the company's board of directors. The HP board approved Thompson's appointment Nov. 16.

The spying scandal lead to the resignations of three board members: Dunn; George Keyworth; and Thomas Perkins. Thompson becomes the 9th member of the HP board and the 7th who does not work at HP.

Director Mark Hurd, HP's CEO, became chairman upon Dunn's resignation in September.

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