According to sources familiar with the HP pretexting spy
scandal, the California attorney general's office has
offered former Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four other
defendants a bargain in which they can plead guilty to a misdemeanor
charge. The state originally filed four felony charges against the five
main people involved. Along with Dunn, California has filed charges
against former HP ethics director Kevin Hunsaker and three private
investigators contracted by the company: Matthew DePante, Bryan Wagner
and Ronald DeLia.
Wagner, a Colorado private investigator, became the first person to plead
guilty to charges stemming from the HP spying case. Wagner pled
guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges for his role in
gathering personal and confidential information on a number of HP board members
and journalists in a deceptive manner.
Stephen Naratil, attorney for Wagner, said that the California attorney general’s
office proposed to reduce the felony charges to one misdemeanor count at the
end of December of last year -- the misdemeanor charge would carry a maximum
penalty of one year in prison and a fine up to $5,000. The other four
have not accepted the offer put on the table by the state.
Each felony count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a
fine ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.