Hewlett Packard’s effort to plug news leaks by spying on board members, employees, reporters and their families resulted in 10 figures in the scandal invoking their right to silence under the Fifth Amendment during Congressional hearings today (Sept. 28). Among those taking the Fifth was HP’s top lawyer, Ann Baskins, who resigned minutes before the hearing after 24 years with the Palo Alto company. Also refusing to testify were attorney Kevin Hunsaker, HP’s “ethics officer” until he resigned several days ago, and Anthony Gentilucci, HP’s former head of global investigation. The others who took the Fifth were contractors hired by HP to investigate how board deliberations were leaked to reporters in 2005 and 2006.
CEO Mark Hurd and former chairman Patricia Dunn (pictured) both distanced themselves from the potentially illegal techniques used in the investigation. They both referred questions about the company’s probe to HP’s investigative team, most of whom had already taken the Fifth.