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The trial date for the former chair of Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors, Patricia Dunn, will likely be set this spring. The California attorney general charged Dunn and four others in October 2006 with criminal violations stemming from an internal investigation of board-level leaks at HP. The investigators identified a board member as the source of the leaks, but one of their methods — the impersonation of directors and news reporters to obtain phone bills — may have violated California law.

The background of the case raised the question of whether the attorney general has been drawn into a personal clash between Dunn and an adversary on the board who has since resigned. Review of the law and the evidence suggests that perhaps the attorney general has also misjudged the evidence as to Patricia Dunn. This article addresses these questions and provides insight into the issues the jury will have to weigh.

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