Prosecutors and attorneys for the five defendants in the Hewlett-Packard spying case will discuss the possibility of plea agreements during an early-resolution conference on December 4.
Robert Morgester, a California deputy attorney general, said he requested the conference to determine whether plea agreements can be reached prior to a preliminary hearing.
Patricia Dunn, former HP chairman; Kevin Hunsaker, the company's former senior counsel and ethics officer; and three HP investigators have pleaded not guilty to four felony charges that include identity theft and conspiracy. The charges could bring a 12-year prison sentence.
The five participated in a spying operation designed to ferret out the source of a news leak on HP's board. Some of the tactics used involved obtaining personal phone records belonging to board members, employees and journalists, including three from CNET News.com.
Early-resolution conferences are standard procedure, and there's no guarantee that resolutions will be reached in any of the cases. In such negotiations, four parties must be satisfied before an agreement is reached: the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge and the defendant.