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'Hotel California' Trial Dismissed: Charges Dropped Against 3 Men Accused of Conspiring to Sell Don Henley's Eagles Lyrics

Prosecutors dismissed the trial after Don Henley released 6000 pages of previously unseen documents, with a judge claiming prosecutors were 'apparently manipulated.'

Source: MEGA

Handwritten lyrics for the Eagles' 'Hotel California' album were at the center of an unusual criminal trial, which was suddenly dismissed today.

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A trial involving Eagles star Don Henley, in which three men were accused of unlawfully conspiring to obtain and sell handwritten song drafts from the band’s blockbuster album Hotel California, was abruptly dismissed by prosecutors on March 6. At issue: more than 6,000 pages of documents that Henley and his lawyers had previously withheld from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, with a judge claiming that prosecutors “were apparently manipulated.”

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Source: MEGA

Henley, left, released more than 6,000 pages of previously unseen documents in the middle of the trial.

It serves as a strange end to an equally strange case. The three defendants in the case, Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski, were accused of illegally possessing handwritten manuscripts of vintage Eagles songs that they intended to sell at auction. Henley raised the alarm when he learned that the pages would be heading to auction in 2012, filing a stolen goods report. All three men were arrested and charged in 2022.

The documents had originally been obtained from the Eagles by a writer for a never-completed biography of the band in the late-1970s, with Horowitz purchasing them from the writer nearly 20 years ago. Horowitz subsequently sold the pages to Inciardi and Kosinski, who planned to sell them at auction. The defendants claimed that the biographer had been in legal possession of the pages, and that their efforts to purchase and sell them had been entirely aboveboard. Henley disputed their claims of ownership, and New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleged that the three men “made up stories about the origin of the documents and their right to possess them so they could turn a profit” at the time charges were filed.

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Source: MEGA

Henley's handwritten lyrics were estimated to be worth more than a million dollars.

The trial was in its third week, with Henley, Eagles manager Irving Azoff and others having already taken the stand, when Henley and his attorneys decided to waive attorney-client privilege and release more than 6,000 pages of documents previously unseen by lawyers on both sides.

While the exact contents of those pages is unknown, according to the Associated Press, prosecuting attorney Aaron Ginandes said: “These delayed disclosures revealed relevant information that the defense should have had the opportunity to explore” prior to cross-examining Henley and others.

The judge, Curtis Farber, agreed with the prosecutors and scolded Henley and his attorneys over the late disclosure, writing: “It is now clear that both witnesses and their lawyers, two of which also shielded themselves from thorough and complete cross-examination by relying on Mr. Henley’s invocation (of attorney-client privilege), used the privilege to obfuscate and hide information that they believed would be damaging to their position that the lyric sheets were stolen. This is a basic confrontation violation.”

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Scott Edelman, an attorney for one of the defendants, was quoted by the AP as saying: “This case never should have been brought. The district attorney in this case got blinded by the fame and fortune of a celebrity, and that blinded them to the information that they weren’t being given.”

For Henley’s part, one of the star’s attorneys issued a statement to Rolling Stone, saying: “As the victim in this case, Mr. Henley has once again been victimized by this unjust outcome. He will pursue all his rights in the civil courts.”

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The Eagles’ Hotel California was released in 1976, and has since become one of the best-selling albums of all time, thanks to the title track and songs like “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid in Town.” The song lyrics in question were estimated to be worth more than $1 million dollars.


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