Hotel California song lyrics trial dropped suddenly over new evidence

7 March 2024, 13:22

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By Mayer Nissim

Don Henley plans to fight on in the civil courts.

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The criminal trial over a collection of hand-written lyrics to the Eagles' 'Hotel California' and other hits has suddenly been dropped.

The band's Don Henley had accused a trio of collectables experts of trying to sell what he had claimed were stolen documents – 100 pages of legal-pad pages of lyrics-in-progress.

Yesterday (March 6), prosecutors ended the case involving Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski, dropping all charges against the trio, The AP reports.

The reason for the abandonment of the trial was the submission of 6,000 pages of communications between Henley and his lawyers.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Aaron Ginandes said: "These delayed disclosures revealed relevant information that the defence should have had the opportunity to explore."

Don Henley at Manhattan Criminal Court
Don Henley at Manhattan Criminal Court. Picture: Getty Images

Judge Curtis Farber said that prosecutors "were apparently manipulated" and that lawyers and witnesses had used attorney-client privilege "to obfuscate and hide information that they believed would be damaging".

The defendants had claimed that they were the true owners of the pages, which had never been stolen at any point.

Eagles - Hotel California (Live 1977) (Official Video) [HD]

They had always claimed that Henley had given the pages to a writer Ed Sanders who had been commissioned to work on an Eagles biography that had never been published, and that this writer had sold the documents to Horowitz, who in turn had sold them to the other two defendants.

Henley had only realised the pages were missing when they went up for sale in 2012 and reported them stolen. He claimed at the trial that while he had lent the pages to the biographer he had "never gifted them or gave them to anybody to keep or sell".

Don Henley performs with the Eagles around the time of 'Hotel California'
Don Henley performs with the Eagles around the time of 'Hotel California'. Picture: Getty Images

The contract with Sanders did indeed state that any material provided to the writer would remain the "sole property" of the band, but Henley's case appears to have been damaged by the initial suggestion that the lyrics had gone missing in a burglary.

Despite the end of the criminal prosecution, Henley's lawyer Dan Petrocelli has said that his client will continue to fight his battle in the civil courts.

"As the victim in this case, Mr. Henley has once again been victimized by this unjust outcome," Petrocelli said.