Bryan Wagner, right, stands next to Mathew DePante
and Ronald DeLia in a San Jose courtroom in
October 2006. Photo by Paul Sakuma of AP.

The scandal over Hewlett-Packard’s scheme to spy on journalists ended Thursday when a former private investigator was sentenced to three months in jail to one count of aggravated identity theft.

Bryan Wagner is the only figure in the case to get any jail time in the scandal that began in 2005 when then-HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn launched a secret campaign to uncover boardroom leaks to the media, according to’s Robert McMillan. He wrote:

    Criminal charges against HP executives were eventually dropped, and the only other people to be convicted in the case, Wagner’s bosses, Joseph and Mathew DePante, were sentenced to three years probation in July.

    Speaking before his sentencing, an unemotional Wagner, his hair now salted with grey, said he was guilty of “moral ineptness,” and he apologized to his victims, including former CNET reporter Dawn Kawamoto, the only victim to address the court on Thursday. “I made mistakes and I apologize for these,” he said. “I was raised differently from what this would show.”

Wagner obtained information about calls between journalists and HP sources though a method called “pretexting,” in which he assumed the identity of journalists to get their calling records from phone companies.

Wagner could have received two years in prison but it is believed he got leniency because he assisted the FBI. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen in San Jose.

After the sentencing, Kawamoto emailed Wired to say she was unsatisfied with the outcome. “I think they should have gone for the maximum.” She told the judge she was “very disappointed” that no one from HP had been convicted of any crime in the matter.

Bay Area Media News

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