HP to keep lid on Hurd secret sex scandal report

HP will not be forced to hand over documents relating to a probe by lawyers into allegations of sexual harassment and financial irregularities that prompted former CEO Mark Hurd to resign, pocketing an estimated $35 million golden handshake

The supreme court of Delaware has turned down a request to gain access to the report by HP shareholder Ernesto Espinoza, who is suing the company for what he believes is "a waste of the company's assets," when any wrongdoing on Hurd's part could have resulted in his dismissal without compensation.

Espinoza wanted HP to hand over a report by lawyers Covington & Burley which followed an internal investigation into allegations that Hurd sexually harassed marketing exec Jodie Fisher.

Former actress Fisher had for two years been a contractor for the IT giant. Hurd was also accused of discrepancies in his expenses claims in an attempt to hide his relationship with Fisher.

HP's board said at the time that the report exonerated Hurd of sexual harassment, but that investigations had shown the exec has breached HP's standards of business conduct.

But instead of being pushed, Hurd resigned - and shortly afterwards took up a new position as president of software firm Oracle, leading to a brief legal spat between the two companies.

A ruling is still expected on another appeal by Espinoza to unseal the letter sent to Hurd in June 2010 by Jodie Fisher's lawyers, detailing the allegations of sexual harassment.