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First Guilty Plea In HP Boardroom Leak Case

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2007/01/12 19:34

A former Hewlett-Packard Co. private investigator pleaded guilty to posing as a reporter and company directors to get telephone records for an internal probe of boardroom leaks.

Bryan Wagner, 29, of Littleton, Colorado, admitted identification theft and conspiracy today before U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose, California. Wagner's lawyer said his client didn't know he was working for the company and was assured his actions were legal. Wagner agreed to assist the U.S. in its investigation of the leak probe at Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest personal-computer maker.

``Its kind of a one-way street,'' Fogel said of Wagner's cooperation agreement. ``You are making a promise to the government. The government is not promising they will make a recommendation of leniency.''

Disclosure of Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard's probe led to the resignations of former Chairman Patricia Dunn, General Counsel Ann Baskins and three other executives. Wagner's defense lawyer, Stephen Naratil, said his client has been cooperating with prosecutors. Wagner faces as much as seven years in prison at his sentencing on June 20.

Wagner and two other private detectives, Ronald DeLia and Matthew Depante, were accused of faking identifications, a technique known as pretexting, to get phone records of board members and journalists.


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