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Final chapter coming in HP spying scandal

Was Bryan Wagner just a patsy? The low-level investigator who helped HP spy on journalists is due to be sentenced for identity theft, but the planners of the espionage will apparently get off.

Bryan Wagner, the would-be private detective who helped Hewlett-Packard spy on technology journalists in 2006, will soon be sentenced, according to a story by The Associated Press.

Former HP chairwoman Patty Dunn leaving court in October 2006. Charges of identity theft and conspiracy would later be dropped. Greg Sandoval/CNET News

Wagner admitted in 2007 to taking part in the spying campaign waged by HP in its attempt to unearth a boardroom leak. The targeted journalists worked for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNET News.

Wagner pleaded guilty to identity theft and conspiracy in January 2007 and on Wednesday is due to get a new sentencing date in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., the AP reported.

This will likely close the book on the scandal that fractured HPs board, triggered a congressional investigation, and shocked the tech community. Wagner is one of five people, including Patricia Dunn, the former chairman of HP, charged in California with four felonies, including conspiracy and identity theft. Wagner was one of the people who duped telephone employees into handing over private records belonging to the journalists, HP employees, and the company's board members.

The irony of Wagner's situation is that he pleaded guilty and agreed to testify in exchange for leniency. The problem for Wagner is that the charges against the other four accused, who all denied wrongdoing, were tossed out.

Wagner was arguably the person at the lowest-level of the espionage but is the only one involved that may see jail time.