A Colorado private investigator has become the first person to plead guilty in the spying scandal that has rocked HP

Bryan Wagner, a Colorado private investigator ensnared in the Hewlett-Packard pretexting spying scandal that was disclosed in late 2006, recently plead guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges in a San Jose federal court.  Although complete details of his plea deal with prosecutors remained sealed, it appears that he is fully cooperating with an ongoing federal probe that may target other people related to the case, including former HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn.  Wagner will testify for the prosecution against those related to the case, though it has not been published who he would testify against.

Wagner was involved with gathering personal and confidential data on a number of HP board members and journalists.  He admitted to falsely creating a phone account in the name of a Wall Street Journal reporter while using the same reporter's Social Security number to access personal phone records.  This activity, known as pretexting, is illegal in California but also becomes a federal crime when financials or Social Security records come into play.

"He's accepting full responsibility for his actions, although he never thought or intended that they were illegal.  He was just doing a job, doing work that he was assured was above the board," said Stephen Naratil, Wagner's attorney.

Wagner may have to serve time in federal prison, but that ultimately depends on his level of cooperation with the government.  Dunn and HP's former ethics director, Kevin Hunsaker, face the same charges but have plead not guilty.

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