Charges against HP defendant dropped

California agrees to drop state charges against investigator Bryan Wagner in the HP spying case because he pleaded guilty to similar federal charges.

The Office of the California Attorney General has agreed that the state should dismiss charges against an investigator charged in the HP spying scandal because he had already pleaded guilty to similar federal charges.

The state will stipulate that charges against Bryan Wagner should be dropped at a court hearing scheduled in his case for Monday afternoon in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California. This hearing had been scheduled for last Friday afternoon, but was postponed on Friday.

Wagner is a private investigator who admits he used false pretenses to obtain calling records of people being investigated by HP for leaking board deliberations to reporters. The 29-year-old resident of Littleton, Colorado, pleaded guilty January 12 to two felony charges in Federal District Court in San Jose and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in exchange for possible leniency at sentencing June 20.

Because he pleaded guilty to federal charges, the state attorney general agreed he shouldn't face trial on state charges, too. Wagner pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft.

"Wagner contends that his recent plea agreement with federal prosecutors effectively bars state authorities from prosecuting him in state court for his conduct in the HP matter," a spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown, Nathan Barankin, said in an email. "Our office agrees with Wagner's argument and will concede that our prosecution against Wagner must be dismissed."

Four other defendants implicated in the HP scandal still face state charges: former HP chairman, Patricia Dunn, former HP legal counsel, Kevin Hunsaker, and two private detectives hired by HP for its investigations.

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