Patricia Dunn, the former chair of Hewlett-Packard, yesterday pleaded not guilty to four felony charges related to the HP board spying scandal.

Dunn made a brief appearance at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose, California, on charges that she ordered an investigation to identify board members who may have leaked board deliberations to the media. According to charges filed by the California Attorney General’s office, private investigators hired by HP used false pretences to gain access to the phone records of directors, HP employees and journalists, which the state claims is illegal.

Dunn spoke only once during her five-minute appearance, answering "yes" when Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler asked if she waived her right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days. She was represented at the hearing by Somnath Raj Chatterjee, a partner at the San Francisco law firm Morrison & Foerster.

The charges against Dunn include using false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility, wrongful use of computer data, identity theft and conspiracy to commit each of those crimes.

At her side in the courtroom, and while walking through a crowd of reporters and photographers covering her every move, was her husband, William Jahnke.

The same charges have been filed against Kevin Hunsaker, a former senior lawyer at HP, who pleaded not guilty on 7 November.

Also charged are Ronald DeLia, a Boston private detective; Matthew DePante, manager of Action Research Group; and Bryan Wagner, who is said to have obtained private phone records while working for Action Research.

Lawyers will return to Superior Court tomorrow to discuss the scheduling of future hearings. Dunn and the other defendants are not required to appear.