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It only looks like Larry Sonsini is doing all of Hewlett-Packard’s legal work. In fact, the troubled tech company has hired Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as it tries to fend off various criminal investigations into whether its board of directors broke the law by having an investigator lie to gain access to board member phone records. On Monday, Morgan Lewis lawyers sat down with San Francisco federal prosecutors in hopes of forestalling federal criminal charges. The Monday meeting involved a “proffer” — a normal step these days in white-collar investigations, in which a company under scrutiny offers up information to the government with certain conditions, as a means of showing good-faith cooperation with investigators. John Hemann, a Morgan Lewis partner who was at the meeting — and who was until last year a white-collar prosecutor with the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s office — didn’t want to talk about HP on Tuesday. “I have no comment,” he said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Krotoski, the chief of the office’s criminal division, is the lead prosecutor handling the investigation. He referred questions to a spokesman, Luke Macaulay, who confirmed the investigation but would not discuss its details. On Tuesday afternoon, meanwhile, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer told PBS’ “NewsHour” anchor Jim Lehrer that “we currently have sufficient evidence to indict people both within Hewlett-Packard as well as outside.” According to a search warrant, Lockyer’s office has been looking into the matter since at least Aug. 16, when a state prosecutor met with investigators for AT&T, the phone company that was duped into handing phone records over to the board’s investigator. Sources familiar with the federal investigation said the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s office has known for at least as long about the allegations that board members’ phone records were accessed through suspect means. On Tuesday, a spokesman for AT&T had little to say. “We really can’t talk about it,” said Walt Sharp. However, he did point to a suit that the company filed in August in San Francisco federal court seeking to find out the identities of several people who improperly accessed phone records, but would not say whether it was directly related to the HP case. The focus of the federal query remains unclear, but the fast-multiplying probes into the matter have Silicon Valley lawyers abuzz with the possibility that attorneys, either at HP or at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, could be ensnared. Spokespersons for the firm and HP did not return calls by press time. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sonsini, who played a role in both the board’s initial leak investigation and its attempt to contain the crisis, ran emergency meetings of HP’s board this week. The firm has denied it was involved in the portion of the investigation that involved pretexting. On Tuesday, HP announced that director Patricia Dunn, who had initiated the leak investigation, would step down as chair at the end of the year. A week ago, it was publicly revealed that ex-director Thomas Perkins had quit the board in May to protest the leak investigation. Since then, what started as a boardroom disagreement has careened into chaos. It isn’t clear when, or how, the various investigations will culminate. Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar wouldn’t comment on when the state might file charges, or whether it is working with the U.S. attorney’s office. “We are focused on completing our investigation into crimes we believe were committed,” he said.

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