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Don’t blame Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn, her new lawyer said Wednesday, for the convulsions the company’s board have suffered in the wake of its troubled investigation of boardroom leaks. “She’s neither a lawyer nor is she an investigator,” said James Brosnahan, the Morrison & Foerster litigator whom Dunn hired this week. “And she’s not the kind of person, frankly, who would advise people to do something illegal.” Dunn has come under scrutiny for her role in directing the troubled probe � The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that she closely supervised it � and she’s the latest figure in the imbroglio to get a big-name lawyer in response to multiple government investigations. Brosnahan, long known for handling high-profile clients � including John Walker Lindh, the Marin County man once charged with fighting for the Taliban � will represent Dunn before a congressional subcommittee and in the state and federal investigations into HP’s probe of board members, journalists and employees. The company’s leak probe became public earlier this month, when The Journal reported that HP director Tom Perkins had resigned in protest of the methods used, which included “pretexting” � or lying � in calls to phone company officials in order to gain access to board members’ phone records. Reached Wednesday afternoon as he was in transit from a San Jose trial to Dunn’s induction dinner for the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame, Brosnahan said his client was trying to plug a troubling hole in HP’s corporate security, and had relied on others to make sure the methods were legal. The leak “was causing havoc in the securities market at the time, disrupting the ability to have business strategies vis a vis competitors,” said Brosnahan. In response, he said, Dunn ordered the investigation, relying on others to execute it. Once complete information about the probe comes out, Brosnahan said, Dunn’s role will seem less problematic, even to skeptics. “When the full story is out and clear, they will see she was pursing a legitimate goal,” he said. “She’s confident, as am I, that she’s not a good candidate for prosecution.”

Follow all the coverage of Hewlett-Packard’s boardroom spying scandal � and the continuing legal fallout.

Thomas Carlucci, a Foley & Lardner partner and former federal prosecutor not involved in the case, said Dunn should be able to mount a strong defense by saying she relied on advice of counsel. “We can all question her judgment about doing the investigation in the first place, but in the pretexting,” he said, “I’ve got to believe she’s relying on her general counsel or outside lawyers.” HP’s general counsel, Ann Baskins, has hired Berkeley defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas. Another in-house lawyer, HP ethics director Kevin Hunsaker, is represented by San Diego solo Michael Pancer. Arguedas could not be reached for comment by press time. Larry Sonsini, the high-powered Silicon Valley lawyer who has long advised HP, has hired Michael Madigan, a D.C.-based partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, in connection with a congressional subcommittee hearing later this month. Sonsini investigated the methods used by HP to plumb the leaks, and has long been the board’s outside adviser, and that role continued after the news of the leak probe broke. The Journal reported last week that Sonsini led the board discussions that culminated last week in Dunn’s decision to relinquish her role as chair at the end of the year. It isn’t clear if Sonsini and his firm will continue in that role. When asked about this, Wilson Sonsini spokeswoman Courtney Dorman provided the following written statement: “Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will continue to have a relationship with HP.” Ryan Donovan, a spokesman for Hewlett-Packard, said Wednesday that he wasn’t able to answer questions about the company’s relationship with Wilson Sonsini by The Recorder’s deadline. Susan Beck, a senior writer at The American Lawyer, contributed to this story.

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