Follow all the coverage of Hewlett-Packard’s boardroom spying scandal � and the continuing legal fallout.
Arguedas added that Baskins intends to testify later this month before a congressional subcommittee investigating the issue.
So does Sonsini. “Larry intends to testify at the upcoming hearings and appreciates the opportunity,” Courtney Dorman, a spokeswoman for Sonsini’s firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, wrote in a Tuesday e-mail. “We are working with Akin Gump under the leadership of former Congressman Bill Paxon to help us understand the congressional process.”
News stories over the last few weeks have painted an unclear portrait of the roles lawyers played in HP’s probe of its own board members.
Problems at the company initially came to light when HP board member Thomas Perkins, who resigned in protest of the company’s leak investigation methods, became outraged that the company did not initially disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission the reasons for his departure.
In an e-mail exchange with Perkins earlier this year, Sonsini said “I was not involved in the design or conduct of the investigation,” and that it was run by the HP legal department. Sonsini has continued to advise the board since the company’s probe was disclosed.
But over the last week, the Times reported that HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn turned the investigation over to Baskins in its early stages, and that Hunsaker was in charge of supervising it. And the Journal reported Tuesday that investigators used legally suspect means to access Sonsini’s phone records, in addition to those of board members, HP employees and journalists.
News reports have also pointed to a Boston investigative firm as the one responsible for hiring people to “pretext” � or lie -� in calls to phone company officials to gain access to the phone records of board members. The Times reported Monday that Boston investigative firm Security Outsourcing Solutions provided HP with an opinion from a Boston lawyer that the pretexting was legal.
The legality of such tactics is up for consideration by the San Francisco U.S. attorney’s office and the California attorney general. They’re both investigating the issue, and Attorney General Bill Lockyer has said he has enough evidence to indict people inside and outside HP.
John Hemann, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius representing HP, couldn’t be reached by press time. But Arguedas and Pancer both said their clients should have nothing to worry about.
“I’m looking forward to all the facts being put out in the open,” said Pancer, who last year gained headlines representing San Diego City Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who was convicted in a corruption case involving strip-club regulations. Pancer has also gained renown as a poker champion, competing in the World Series of Poker.
Pancer also said that HP isn’t the only victim of leaks. Over the last week, he said, information making its way into newspapers has portrayed his client unfairly.
“There has been selective leaking of information, much of it false, which has created a false impression. And we hope to correct that,” he said.