Former HP head pleads not guilty in 'pretexting' case

[JURIST] Former Hewlett-Packard [corporate website] chairwoman Patricia Dunn [Forbes profile] pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four felony charges [felony complaint, PDF; JURIST report] stemming from her role in the corporate spying scandal [JURIST news archive]. Dunn is one of five people charged in the case involving company investigators using "pretexting" by impersonating board members, employees and reporters in order to gain their phone records and potentially uncover who was leaking confidential information from board meetings. She resigned [JURIST report] in September before testifying at a hearing [JURIST report] held by a US House Energy and Commerce Committee [official website], during which she admitted that she was aware of the plan, but was also told the actions were legal by corporate attorneys.

Along with Dunn, the company's former ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker [BusinessWeek backgrounder] and three investigators were also charged with identity theft, unauthorized access to computer data, use of false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility, and conspiracy to commit each of those crimes. If convicted, the defendants could each face a maximum of 12 years in prison and $40,000 in fines. Hunsaker, who surrendered to authorities [JURIST report] with Dunn last month, has also pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. AP has more.

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