LOS ANGELES—Sitrick & Company is leading the public relations offensive on behalf of former Hewlett Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who stepped down from her role with the company after California attorney general filed felony charges over her role in the corporate spying scandal that has engulfed HP in recent months.
With an appearance on 60 Minutes this weekend, Dunn appears to be setting up a confrontation with HP chief executive Mark Hurd, who earlier in the week attempted to distance himself from direct involvement in the scandal, telling reporters: “`I was apprised of the existence of the investigation by Ms. Dunn, but I was not involved in the investigation itself.”
Dunn calls Hurd’s remarks a “mischaracterization” and told 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl: “I know that I am going to be following a path to defend myself.” That defense will clearly include both the court of law and the court of public opinion, where she is working with Sitrick founder Mike Sitrick and his colleague Terry Fahn.
The aggressive public relations strategy apparently has the backing of Dunn’s lawyer, James Brosnahan, who says: “I’m not worried about Pattie Dunn and her ability to be a witness, or whether she is going to fight it, because she is.”
Lockyer, meanwhile, made it clear that the public relations strategy would make no difference top his decision to pursue a conviction. “I notice that Patti has a vigorous PR defense that seems to have very little relevance to the facts or court case,” he told Reuters. “But if it makes her feel better about her life, that’s good.”
Crisis management expert Eric Dezenhall, meanwhile told the San Francisco Chronicle that “if Dunn is speaking, that means she’s looking for more than an acquittal. She’s looking for redemption. As a general rule, if you’re guilty, repent; if you’re innocent, attack. ... There’s no better way to do that than to go on 60 Minutes.”