Calif. Attorney General Attempting Deal Between HP, Pretext Victims - InformationWeek

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12/8/2006
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Calif. Attorney General Attempting Deal Between HP, Pretext Victims

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is working to settle any victims' claims arising from Hewlett-Packard's probe into media leaks, which involved pretexting, or deception, to obtain phone records.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is working to settle any victims' claims arising from Hewlett-Packard's probe into media leaks, which involved pretexting, or deception, to obtain phone records.

Lockyer's office confirmed Friday that the attorney general planned to meet with journalists and others whose phone records were accessed as part of HP's investigation. Lockyer hopes to help broker a settlement between victims and the company accused of violating their privacy.

The State of California settled its own civil complaint against the company Thursday. That settlement does not involve any admission or conclusion of guilt on HP's part, but the company will pay $14.5 million to cover fines, legal costs and to set up a fund to help California authorities prosecute privacy violations.

Several newspapers whose employees were targeted in HP's probe into media leaks said soon after learning their employees' contacts with sources, family, friends and acquaintances may have been jeopardized that they would seek any and all avenues of recourse. No announcements came of a meeting Lockyer's office planned for Friday and a spokesperson said he had not heard of any deals reached yet.

Some former HP officials and investigators still face felony charges related to the scandal. All of the defendants charged to date have pleaded not guilty.

The company also faces a shareholders lawsuit that accuses executives of selling more than $40 million in stocks just before disclosing that its investigators may have used pretexting to gain detailed personal call records of journalists, its own board members and family members of both.

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