If you were disappointed at the $14 million hand-slap Hewlett Packard got from California Attorney General Bill Lockyer for spying on journalists, there’s an indication that the criminal case in Santa Clara County might not go as well for the Palo Alto company. That’s because a private detective who used the stolen Social Secuirty numbers of journalists to obtain their phone records for HP pleaded guilty today (Jan. 12) and will become a prosecution witness. The AP reports that Bryan Wagner, 29, of Littleton, Colo., acknowledged using a form of subterfuge known as “pretexting,” or pretending to be someone else, to fool telephone companies into coughing up records on former HP directors Tom Perkins and George Keyworth II, and reporters Pui-Wing Tam of The Wall Street Journal and Dawn Kawamoto of CNet’s News.com. Wagner’s lawyer, Stephen Naratil, told the AP his client would testify for the prosecution as it pursues other figures tied to the scandal including former chairwoman Patricia Dunn, former HP ethics chief Kevin Hunsacker and Boston private detective Ronald DeLia. (Oct. 10 photo by Paul Sakuma of AP.)

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