The HP Saga: Dunn’s Legal Strategy Revealed; Hurd in the House?

21 Sep ’06

The WSJ’s Law Blog notes that the Recorder (sub. required) is reporting that Patricia Dunn has retained Morrison & Foerster’s James Brosnahan, quoted thusly (Update: Recorder link here):

Dunn has reportedly hired Brosnahan to represent her before a congressional subcommittee and in the state and federal investigations into H-P’s probe of boardroom press leaks. “She’s neither a lawyer nor is she an investigator,” said Brosnahan, distancing his client from the alleged illegalities committed during a spy probe into boardroom press leaks. “And she’s not the kind of person, frankly, who would advise people to do something illegal.”

The blame-the-underling strategy looks to be warming up for the ninth inning. Watch out below.

Meanwhile, the WSJ reports that Hurd may yet be invited to assist the House Energy and Commerce Committee with its inquiries, a development I suggested this morning:

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House committee investigating H-P’s media-leak probe signaled that Mark Hurd, H-P’s chief executive officer, may be asked now to testify. “We have that under advisement,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R., Tex.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “We may yet ask that he appear.”

And the WSJ has Barton commenting on the saga:

“I think they went overboard in trying to find the source of the leak, when you try to infiltrate the press,” the chairman said of H-P’s controversial tactics aimed at board members and reporters covering the company. “It’s an unknown whether the higher-ups at H-P knew how the information was obtained but somebody at H-P had to know how they obtained these records. When you get people’s phone records and things like that, that would not be the type of information the subjects being investigated would voluntarily divulge”

Somebody, indeed.

Update: Hurd has apparently offered to appear, and the WSJ calls him a likely witness. The NYT reports on the impact that tying Hurd to this scandal is having on the company’s stock price. The WSJ covers his role and sets out questions Hurd needs to answer to calm investors.

Update: HP has announced that it’s dropping Wilson Sonsini as outside counsel for the California AG’s investigation. I assume that the reason is the conflict arising from the investigation I assume the AG is conducting into the firm’s conduct in the affair. Naturally, it’s positioned as a mutual decision, and the usual bland assurances about the storied firm’s future involvement with the company are being made as well.

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