Larry Sonsini was about to have a bad day. It was the morning of Sept. 28, and Sonsini was preparing to testify before Congress about his role in the Hewlett-Packard Co. boardroom spying scandal. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce was focused on the company’s use of pretexting, in which investigators lied about their identity to get phone records for HP directors and journalists.

This would not be fun, but it could be worse. Sonsini could be Ann Baskins. As the company’s top legal officer, Baskins would be seated next to Hewlett-Packard’s recently deposed chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, and Baskins would bear the brunt of the questions about the legality of the underhanded techniques the company used to discover the source of boardroom leaks to the press.

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