Eagles’ Don Henley was brazenly targeted by collector to sell stolen, handwritten “Hotel California” lyrics to frontman: prosecutors

three collectors Be inspired to sell handwritten lyrics to the Eagles’ hit song “Hotel California” The frontman of the legendary rock band conspired to make thousands of dollars from “stolen” manuscripts, Manhattan prosecutors alleged Wednesday at the start of his trial.

Rare book dealer Glenn Horowitz, former Rock and Roll Hall of Fame director Craig Inciardi and memorabilia seller Edward Kosinki apparently joined forces with the Eagles Founder Don Henley repeatedly prevaricated him when he demanded the return of the lyrics, which prosecutors say were stolen from him. Him decades ago.

“The defendants were not businessmen acting in good faith, but criminals seeking to profit from property they knew to be stolen,” Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Penfold said in opening statements in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Craig Inciady (from left), Edward Kosinski and Glenn Horowitz allegedly tried to sell stolen “Hotel California” lyrics to Eagles frontman Don Henley. Steven Hirsch

He described the trio as “criminal elements who used deception and manipulation to frustrate Don Henry’s righteous efforts to recover stolen property and prevent legal pursuit.”

The three face charges of conspiracy to possess stolen property and various other crimes in a non-jury trial.

Prosecutors allege that Henry’s draft of the 1977 single was the distillation of a trove of documents removed from his Malibu home, including at least 15 notepads and another 100 pages of the singer’s handwritten lyrics.

Also among the looted files were original copies of hits such as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kids in Town.”

Former Rock and Roll Hall of Fame director Craig Inciardi took the stand. Steven Hirsch

In 2005, Horowitz was a superstar rare book dealer who had represented the sales of the literary estates of Vladimir Nabokov and William Faulkner, from the famous The lyric pages were purchased from author Ed Sanders, who had been writing a biography of Eagles but never published it, for $50,000, prosecutors said.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Horowitz eventually gave the notepads to Inciardi and Kosinki in 2012 for $65,000, which led to Kosinki listing them on his memorabilia website “Gotta Have Rock and Roll” Four pages of lyrics from “Hotel California.”

Henry, who is expected to testify at the trial, heard about Kossinks’ auction and agreed to buy the allegedly stolen lyrics for $8,500 in May 2012.

The defendant’s collection included 15 notepads and 100 additional pages of the singer’s handwritten lyrics that were taken from his Malibu home. redferns

He thought that was the end of the ordeal – but Henry later discovered that handwritten notes to “Life in the Fast Lane” had turned up at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014 – which prosecutors said were another batch of stolen lyric sheets.

This time, Henley was allegedly given the opportunity to buy the pages for $12,000, but he declined, according to prosecutors. The sale never found a buyer.

Meanwhile, Inciardi and Kosinksi allegedly tried to sell again through Sotheby’s – this time in a private sale agreement in January 2016 – but Henry’s lawyers contacted the auction house to tell them the lyrics had been Stolen and demanded its return.

The Eagles star was then given an ultimatum – go ahead with the auction and share the profits, or buy it back for $90,000.

Assistant District Attorney Nicolas Penfold said the defendants were “criminal elements seeking to profit from property they knew was stolen.” Steven Hirsch

After refusing, Henry filed charges with police, and authorities began seizing the allegedly stolen manuscripts from Sotheby’s and Kosinski’s New Jersey home.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office filed charges in 2022, and all three defendants pleaded not guilty.

Horowitz’s attorney, Jonathan Bach, argued Wednesday that his client is not interested in a “get-rich-quick scheme” that would undo decades of work.

“If Glenn Horowitz thought the records were stolen, why would he risk his career for a mere $15,000?” he said, referring to the money his client made from selling the lyrics.

Kosinski’s attorney, Matthew Laroche, claimed that his client did not believe the lyrics were stolen when he purchased them.

“If a celebrity tells you that property is theirs and you don’t return it, then according to people you are guilty of theft of property,” Laroche said, adding that he plans to file a motion at the end of the trial. Dismiss the case.

Henry is expected to testify in court. Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

Inciardi’s attorney, Stacey Richman, said she hoped prosecutors would “apologize” to her client at the end of the trial.

“This case is a case of context. Three innocent men have been accused of crimes that never happened,” Richman argued to Judge Curtis Farber, who is presiding over the case.

Prosecutors said that as Henry’s attorneys tried to trace the lyrics after they disappeared, Horowitz and Inciadi concocted stories about how Sanders obtained the documents.

One plot line Horowitz suggested to Sanders was that Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who died in 2016, was the one who provided Sanders with the documents, according to the DA’s office.

“If Frey, alas, he dies and identifies him as [sic] Horowitz allegedly wrote in an email on February 22, 2017.

Kosinski’s attorney claims he didn’t believe the lyrics were stolen when he purchased them. Steven Hirsch

In another email, prosecutors said, Incialdi suggested Horowitz blamed his age for forgetting the origins of the lyrics he obtained.

“That was about 35 years ago and my memory is starting to blur!” Inciadi wrote, to which Horowitz responded, “He wouldn’t have done that.”

Irving Azoff, the Eagles’ longtime manager, was the first witness to testify. On Wednesday, he expressed frustration that Henry “felt like he was being ripped off” and decided to report the crime to California police after receiving a demand for $12,000 in 2014.

“[Henley] Don’t know what else is there [would] If he keeps writing bigger and bigger checks to get his lyrics back, that opens a can of worms,” ​​said Azoff, the former CEO of Ticketmaster.

Azoff later revealed that the Eagles paid Sanders a total of $75,000 for his botched biography, much to their “extreme disappointment” – in part because Sanders had threatened to write a piece about the band’s 1980 breakup Magazine stories.

“Ed had threatened to publish an article about the Eagles disbanding as a compromise that would make him happy,” he said.

Azoff returns to court Thursday. The trial is expected to last at least a week.

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