HP detectives plead not guilty in pretexting case

The three private investigators charged in Hewlett-Packard Co.’s spying scandal have pleaded not guilty to felony charges in the affair.

The three were arraigned Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California. All were released without bail after entering their pleas, said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer

The three investigators facing charges are Ronald DeLia, managing director of Security Outsourcing Solutions, and Matthew Depante and Bryan C. Wagner, both of Action Research Group.

They face charges of fraudulent wire communications, wrongful use of computer data, identity theft and conspiracy.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 17, the same day that former HP Chairman Patricia Dunn is set to be arraigned on similar charges.

Also charged is Kevin Hunsaker, HP’s former ethics counsel, who is set to be arraigned on Dec. 6. Dunn and Hunsaker have not entered pleas.

Lockyer’s office brought charges against the five, alleging that Dunn and Hunsaker authorized an illegal leak investigation in which phone records of journalists, HP directors and employees were obtained under false pretenses, a practice known as “pretexting.”