Trial Begins for Defendants Accused of Thwarting Don Henley’s Reclamation of Stolen Eagles Lyrics

The trial for three defendants accused of conspiring to obstruct Eagles co-founder Don Henley’s efforts to reclaim stolen handwritten lyrics to the iconic rock song “Hotel California” and other Eagles favorites commenced on Wednesday in a New York courtroom. Rare-book dealer Glenn Horowitz, former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, and memorabilia seller Edward Kosinski have all pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and other related offenses.

The trial revolves around more than 80 pages of draft lyrics from songs featured on the highly acclaimed 1976 album “Hotel California,” which remains the third-best selling album in the United States to date. The documents include early versions of lyrics for songs such as “Life in the Fast Lane,” “New Kid in Town,” and the eponymous “Hotel California,” a six-minute-long musical narrative that continues to resonate with audiences.

Although some may view “Hotel California” as an overexposed relic of the 1970s, the Grammy-winning song remains a staple on classic rock radio and personal playlists. In 2021, the entertainment data company Luminate recorded over 220 million streams and 136,000 radio plays of “Hotel California” in the United States alone.

The case was initiated in 2022, a decade after some of the stolen lyrics began appearing at auctions, catching Henley’s attention and prompting him to take action. Henley repurchased a portion of the material for $8,500 but also reported the documents as stolen. At the time, the lyrics were in the possession of Kosinski and Inciardi, who had acquired them from Horowitz. Horowitz, in turn, had purchased the lyrics in 2005 from Ed Sanders, a writer and counterculture figure from the 1960s who collaborated with the Eagles on an unpublished band biography.

Sanders, who co-founded the avant-garde rock group the Fugs, is not implicated in the case and has not responded to requests for comment. According to emails cited in the indictment, Sanders informed Horowitz in 2005 that Henley’s assistant had sent him any relevant documents for the biography. However, Sanders expressed concerns that Henley might be displeased if the lyrics were sold.

When Henley’s legal team began inquiring about the stolen lyrics, Horowitz, Inciardi, and Kosinski allegedly engaged in efforts to fabricate a legitimate ownership history for the manuscripts. Prosecutors claim that Inciardi and Horowitz provided varying accounts of how Sanders obtained the documents, ranging from finding them abandoned in a backstage dressing room to receiving them from the late Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey. While Sanders appeared to have some involvement in shaping the explanations, he seemingly objected to the backstage-salvage story.

The defense attorneys argue that Sanders had legal possession of the lyrics, as did the subsequent buyers. They also intend to question the clarity of Henley’s recollection regarding his interactions with Sanders and the lyric sheets, particularly during a period when the rock star was living a fast-paced lifestyle.

In a recent development, the defendants opted to forgo a jury trial, leaving the verdict in the hands of Judge Curtis Farber.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. The post discusses the trial of three defendants who are accused of conspiring to obstruct Don Henley’s efforts to reclaim stolen handwritten lyrics to the song “Hotel California” and other Eagles favorites. The trial began in a New York courtroom.

    My insight: This trial highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property and the lengths some individuals may go to profit from stolen works. It is crucial for artists and creators to have legal recourse to reclaim their stolen property and ensure that their rights are protected. This case also serves

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