Federal guilty plea a done deal, California charges may be dropped against HP private eye

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California prosecutors are expected to drop criminal charges against a private investigator involved in the HP boardroom spying scandal.

Bryan Wagner, a data broker hired by HP last year to probe a now infamous boardroom news leak, pleaded guilty to federal identity theft and conspiracy charges earlier this month.

However, deputy state attorney general Robert Morgester, said Wednesday that his office would not oppose a defense motion to dismiss all state charges against Wagner.

California state law prohibits state law enforcement officials from prosecuting someone for a crime if he or she has already guilty of that act in a federal case.

The state attorney general's office is expected to review Wagner's federal plea agreement before making a final decision, Morgester said.

The HP scandal began in 2005 when the company's board became suspicious of private information that was leaked to journalists. Wagner was hired by the company to determine which boardroom member was passing on the information to the media.

The 29-year-old admitted that he was part of a conspiracy that used "fraud and deceit" to gain Social Security numbers and the private telephone records of an HP director, several reporters and their family members.

Former HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn and three other people were also charged in the criminal investigation on various counts, including conspiracy and identity fraud.

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