Calif. AG: No evidence yet to charge Hurd in scandal

Attorney General Bill Lockyer is looking into the HP boardroom scandal

A spokesman from his office today said that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer at this point does not have any evidence to charge Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO and President Mark Hurd with a criminal offense in the ongoing investigation into HP's efforts to stop leaks of sensitive corporate information.

However, Thomas Dressler, a Lockyer spokesman, said that the attorney general and his office are still in the middle of an investigation, so it does not mean Hurd is in the clear yet.

"The key words are 'at this point,'" he said. "We're not ruling anyone out in terms of criminal culpability. We have much more work to do, many more documents to review, more people to interview."

The probe could have serious consequences for HP as evidence continues to surface that investigators not only used pretexting -- obtaining phone records under false pretenses -- but also physical surveillance and e-mail tracking software that was placed on at least one target's computer without her knowledge to gather information.

HP has acknowledged that it undertook an investigation of employees, board members and journalists in an attempt to find out who on the HP board was leaking information.

A report in The Washington Post yesterday cited e-mail indicating Hurd knew about details of the investigation, and HP's share price began falling after reports that suggested he approved elaborate spying tactics to obtain reporter information.

Patricia Dunn already has agreed to step aside as HP chairman in January in the wake of the scandal, and two other board members have resigned . Hurd will take over as chairman of the board when Dunn leaves, though she will remain on the board. Hurd planned to speak publicly for the first time about the scandal in a press conference later today. According to HP spokeswoman Emma Wischhusen, Hurd will not field reporter questions, but will make only prepared comments.

A representative from a law firm representing HP, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, also will speak at the press conference. 

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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