Patricia Dunn pleads not guilty in HP case

She faces four felony charges related to the HP board spying scandal

Patricia Dunn, the former chairman of Hewlett-Packard Co., pleaded not guilty yesterday 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 on charges that she ordered an investigation to identify board members who may have leaked board deliberations to the 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 -- a practice the state maintains is illegal.

Dunn spoke only once during her five-minute appearance, answering "yes" when Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler asked if she waived her right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days. She was represented at the hearing by Somnath Raj Chatterjee, a partner at San Francisco law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP.

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 Dunn's side in the courtroom, and while walking through a crowd of reporters and photographers covering her every move, was her husband, William Jahnke.

The same charges have also been filed against Kevin Hunsaker, a former senior lawyer at HP, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Nov. 7.

Also charged are Ronald L. DeLia, a Boston-area private detective; Matthew DePante, manager of Action Research Group, a Melbourne, Fla., information broker; and Bryan Wagner, a Littleton, Colo., man who is alleged to have obtained private phone records while working for Action Research.

Attorneys will return to Superior Court tomorrow to discuss scheduling of future hearings, but Dunn and the other defendants are not required to appear. 

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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