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11/15/2006
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Former HP Chairwoman Dunn Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud, Identity Theft, And Other Charges

Defendants' lawyers are expected to appear in court again Friday to schedule future proceedings.

Former Hewlett-Packard board chairwoman Patricia Dunn pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges related to the company's media leak probe.

Dunn appeared briefly in Santa Clara County Superior Court to answer charges alleging that she engaged in fraudulent wire communications, wrongful use of computer data, and identity theft, and that she conspired to commit those crimes.

She filed a waiver, which frees her from court appearances, except for preliminary hearings, a trial, and sentencing. She also requested relief from previously imposed travel restrictions, according to a spokesperson for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Lockyer filed the charges and didn't object to Dunn's requests.

Dunn is one of five defendants charged with four counts in a case that drew widespread attention from the media, the public, and the U.S. Congress. Former HP counsel Kevin Hunsaker and three HP contractors who investigated board members, journalists, and others to identify the source of media leaks have also pleaded not guilty.

The defendants' lawyers are expected to appear in court again Friday to schedule future proceedings. The defendants are unlikely to appear in court again until preliminary hearings, trials, or sentencing.

The scandal over HP's internal media leak probe resulted in several board member and employee resignations, including Dunn's departure. It also pushed the practice of "pretexting," or lying to obtain phone records, into the public light.

Congress held hearings on HP investigators' use of spy tactics and on pretexting in general. HP president and CEO Mark Hurd apologized for the probe, which occurred under his watch, although he has said he had no knowledge of investigators' methods.

The company's stock has continued to rise despite the controversy; an earnings report is scheduled for Thursday.

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