A spokesman from the California attorney general's office Friday said that Attorney General Bill Lockyer at this point does not have any evidence to charge Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd with a criminal offense in the ongoing investigation into HP's probe of journalists and board members.
However, Thomas Dressler, a Lockyer spokesman, said that Lockyer and his office are still in the middle of an investigation, so it does not mean Hurd is in the clear yet.
"The key words are 'at this point,'" he said Friday. "We're not ruling anyone out in terms of criminal culpability. We have much more work to do, many more documents to review, more people to interview."
The probe could have serious consequences for HP as evidence continues to surface that investigators not only used pretexting -- or obtaining phone records under false pretenses -- but also physical surveillance and e-mail tracking software that was placed on at least one target's computer without her knowledge to gather information.
HP has acknowledged that it undertook an investigation of employees, board members and journalists, in an attempt to find out who on the HP board was leaking information.
A report in The Washington Post Thursday cited e-mail that indicated Hurd knew about details of the investigation, and HP's share price began falling after reports that suggested he approved elaborate spying tactics to obtain reporter information.
Patricia Dunn, HP's chairman, already has agreed to step aside as chairman in January in the wake of the scandal, and two others also have resigned from the board. Hurd will take over as chairman of the board when Dunn leaves, though she will remain on the board.
Hurd is expected to speak publicly for the first time about the scandal in a press conference at 4:05 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. According to HP spokeswoman Emma Wischhusen, Hurd will not field reporter questions, but will make only prepared comments. A representative from a law firm representing HP, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, also will speak at the press conference.