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Hewlett-Packard Company said Thursday it has dropped Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as its outside counsel in the California attorney general’s criminal investigation of the company. Wilson, HP says, will continue to represent the company in other matters, but in a written statement by spokesman Ryan Donovan, the company said that “Hewlett-Packard and Wilson Sonsini mutually agreed it would be in the best interests of both parties for Wilson to terminate its representation of HP in the California attorney general’s inquiry.” Wilson chair Larry Sonsini has been Hewlett-Packard’s primary outside counsel for years, advising the client on the massive Agilent Technologies, Inc. spin-off in 1999, and guiding it during the tumultuous proxy fight waged by former director Walter Hewlett that spanned 2001-02. Sonsini has stated that he was not involved in the design of the leaks probe, but he did review the results of the probe for the company, and initially took the position that it was “within legal limits.” The probe by California AG Bill Lockyer centers on whether the company broke the law as it tried to uncover the source of leaks to the news media on deliberations by the company’s board of directors. Lockyer is trying to determine whether crimes were committed when the phone records of directors and journalists covering the company were obtained under false pretenses. Last week, Lockyer said he believed he had “sufficient evidence” to indict people in the company. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Lockyer said Hewlett-Packard had stopped cooperating with his investigation. “Today we ran into a brick wall,” Lockyer said in the Bloomberg interview. He said the state of California would become more aggressive in its probe because of the company’s “stalling tactics.” He explained that Hewlett-Packard’s new law firm had advised the company to stop handing over documents and talking to investigators. Later in the day, however, Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar said representatives of HP had been in contact with the AG’s office since Lockyer had talked to Bloomberg, and the company’s lack of cooperation “appears to be corrected.” He added, “It seems now we’ll be getting quick access interview subjects.” In a separate news release, HP announced that it will hold a press conference Friday where CEO Mark Hurd and lawyers from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius will address the leaks investigation. The press release states that Morgan Lewis was retained on September 8 by HP to conduct a “comprehensive analysis of the leak investigations.” It also notes that, “Morgan Lewis also is representing HP in connection the with several government inquiries.” The press release does not mention Wilson Sonsini’s involvement for HP. Donovan refused to clarify if Wilson continues to advise the HP board of directors in other aspects of the leaks investigation. He did emphasize, however, that “Hewlett-Packard and Wilson Sonsini continue to enjoy a strong relationship.” Wilson Sonsini spokesperson Courtney Dorman confirmed the Hewlett-Packard statement. “We all agree it was the right decision,” she wrote in an e-mail. She added, “Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will continue to have a relationship with HP,” but declined to say more. E-mail: [email protected]

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