California Attorney General Bill Lockyear revealed on Tuesday that his office may pursue indictments in its investigation of tactics used by HP board members in an effort to find the source of a leak to the media.
"Crimes have been committed. People's identity was taken falsely. That's a crime in California," said Lockyear during an appearance on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.
"We currently have sufficient evidence to indict people within HP as well as contractors on the outside."
The possible indictments come hot on the heels of HP's decision to replace chairman Patricia Dunn in January.
Board member George Keyworth, who will step down as well, is alleged to have been the source of the information leaks that prompted the initial investigation.
"The invasion of my privacy and that of others was ill-conceived and inconsistent with HP's values," Keyworth said.
The indictments could also change the timeframe for Dunn's departure, according to Marc Greenberg, associate professor and director of the IP Law programme at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
"If Dunn is indicted before she steps down it would give the board a basis to accelerate her departure," he told vnunet.com.
An indictment would not just affect the board of directors, however, but could impede the company's everyday business.
"The question that will be asked if HP is taking an aggressive position in negotiating is whether they have the support of the board," said Greenberg.
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