State drops HP spying charges

A California judge Monday dismissed state charges against a figure in the HP spying case because the defendant already pleaded guilty to similar federal charges in the case.

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A California judge Monday dismissed state charges against a figure in the HP spying case because the defendant already pleaded guilty to similar federal charges in the case.

Judge Jerome Nadler approved the motion to dismiss four felony counts against Bryan Wagner at a brief hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose.

Wagner was facing trial on charges related to his involvement in an investigation ordered by HP officials in 2005 and 2006 to have private detectives trace the source of boardroom leaks to the media. Wagner was an independent contractor hired by a company called Action Research Group to obtain calling records of people who were targets of the investigation. He allegedly used false pretences to trick phone companies into providing those records, a practice called pretexting.

Assistant state Attorney General Ralph Sivilla agreed to the dismissal sought by Wagner's attorney, Stephen Naratil, because California law prohibits a defendant from being charged for the same crime in state court for which they have been convicted in federal court.

Wagner pleaded guilty 12 January to one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft. He agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in exchange for consideration for leniency at sentencing on 20 June 2006.

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