HP Officials Could Face Calif. Charges

The California attorney general's office last week said it may indict people within and outside of Hewlett-Packard for their alleged roles in a boardroom scandal that forced Chairman Patricia Dunn to step down last week.

Thomas Dressler, a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said the state is continuing to investigate the actions taken by HP officials and the private investigators they hired to find out which board members were leaking corporate information to reporters.

In addition, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said Lockyer's office is working with Massachusetts officials on the investigation.

Dressler declined to disclose why the investigation has spread to Massachusetts or what other companies might be included in the probe. "I'm not going to comment. It's not prudent for prosecutors to mention names before bringing charges," Dressler said.

The spokeswoman for Reilly also declined to explain why Massachusetts is involved in the investigation.

HP has acknowledged that it hired private investigators to ferret out the sources of the leaks. The investigators obtained phone records of nine journalists using pretexting, which involves someone posing as a phone company customer to get access to that person's records, HP said.

In a statement, Dunn apologized for the use of inappropriate investigative techniques and said that those techniques "went beyond what we understood them to be."

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