Del. court says ex-HP CEO can't keep letter secret

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Former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd will have to make public a letter detailing sexual-harassment allegations that led to his ouster.

The Delaware Supreme Court, the state's highest, ruled on Wednesday that Hurd's lawyers didn't show that disclosing the letter would invade California privacy rights. The ruling said information that is only "mildly embarrassing" is not protected from public disclosure. The letter, it added, does not contain trade secrets or non-public financial information that would qualify.

Although the letter goes into "embarrassing detail about Hurd's behavior, it does not describe any intimate conversation or conduct," the ruling said. Some sentences, concerning Hurd's family, were ordered redacted, but no one appealed that part of a lower court's decision, according to the ruling.

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred sent the letter last year on behalf of Jodie Fisher, who was hired to help with HP networking events and later accused Hurd of sexual harassment. Although an investigation did not find any sexual harassment, it uncovered inaccurate expense reports that ultimately pressured Hurd to resign. Hurd now works as co-president at rival Oracle Corp.

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