Kevin Hunsaker surrenders, says he’s innocent

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Kevin Hunsaker, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s former senior counsel now at the center of the company’s pretexting scandal, expressed regret for his involvement Thursday, but claims he’s innocent of the criminal charges that have been filed against him.

“If he could undo everything that has happened now, he would; however, at no time did he – or would he – ever authorize or engage in any activity that he thought was illegal,” Hunsaker’s attorney, Michael Pancer, wrote in the statement prepared at Hunsaker’s behest.

Many of the events at the heart of the scandal took place before Hunsaker was “involved or had any knowledge of the investigation,” according to the statement released by Pancer.

Hunsaker was substantially involved in the second of two ill-fated investigations to find the source of H-P
board room leaks to journalists, but only between Jan. 20 and March 10.

During that time, Hunsaker was assured that everything investigators were doing was above board and legal, according to the three-page statement his attorney released Thursday.

It was also Hunsaker’s understanding, according to the statement, that H-P had conducted a thorough analysis about pretexting that determined it was legal.

Moreover, Hunsaker had been promoted during his tenure overseeing the inquiry, another indication that what he was doing was felt to be above board, according to the statement.

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A representative of California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who filed criminal charges against Hunsaker and four other defendants on Wednesday, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

On Thursday, Hunsaker was booked on the four felony charges and then released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Dec. 6, Pancer said.

Hunsaker, former H-P Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, and private investigators Ronald DeLia, 56, of Boston, Matthew Depante 27, of Melbourne, Fla. and Bryan Wagner, 29, of Littleton, Colo. were all charged Wednesday with using wire fraud to acquire confidential information from a public utility, unlawfully accessing computer data, identity theft and conspiracy in connection with each of those crimes.

The charges stem from two investigations that Dunn, who was booked on the charges Thursday and released, launched in 2005 and 2006 to find the source of confidential boardroom information that was appearing in news reports.

The first investigation, code-named Kona I, ended without any concrete findings, but the second probe, called Kona II and directed by Hunsaker, determined that former H-P board director George Keyworth was the source of the leaks. Keyworth quit the H-P board on Sept. 12.

According to statements released by H-P and the testimony of Hurd, Dunn and others before a congressional committee on Sept. 28, investigators conducting the probe obtained the phone records of reporters, H-P employees and board members by impersonating them.

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