HP counsel quits and pleads the fifth at hearing

Hewlett Packard’s (HP) general counsel Ann Baskins has quit the embattled technology company and will use the fifth amendment at a House Committee appearance today.

HP made a statement earlier today (28 September) announcing Baskins’ resignation, just ahead of her appearance before the US House Energy & Commerce Committee today.

HP senior executives, including Baskins, appear before the US House Energy & Commerce Committee today, as it investigates the HP pretexting scandal.

Baskins has worked in-house at HP for 24 years and was appointed general counsel in 2000.

Her resignation follows that of HP’s chair Patricia Dunn last week (22 September).

In 2005 Baskins oversaw an investigation into boardroom leaks from HP. Baskins and Dunn hired a detective agency to investigate the leaks, allegedly using “pretexting,” the fraudulent use of another’s identity, to obtain private phone records of HP’s board members.

However on 12 September Bill Lockyer, California’s attorney general, called the practice illegal.

Baskins hired Cristina Arguedas of Arguedas Cassman & Headley ahead of the hearing.

HP’s chair and chief executive Mark Hurd said in a statement: “Stepping down was a very hard decision for [Ann], but by doing so she has put the interests of HP above her own and that is to be commended.”