Eagles manuscript trial continues

Eagles manuscript trial continues

In recent days we announced the opening of a judicial proceeding in the New York court regarding the ownership” of some manuscripts of the texts of the Eagles, including that of their great success”Hotel California” (Read here).

To continue the trial, the testimony of was necessary Don Henley who made his third and final court appearance Wednesday, testifying in the matter involving nearly 100 pages of allegedly stolen Eagles lyrics dating back to the “Hotel California” era. Following his statements, further details of the affair became known.

Rare book collector Glenn Horowitz, former Roll & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi and rock auctioneer Edward Kosinki are all charged with fourth-degree conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Horowitz was separately charged with attempted first-degree criminal possession of stolen property, as well as two counts of hindering prosecution. Inciardi and Kosinski are also charged with first-degree criminal possession.

Henley first noticed the lyrics pages appearing on auction sites in 2012. He bought the pages back for $8,500, but Henley chose not to proceed with the purchases when others surfaced in 2014 and 2016. “They had already extorted me once,” he said Monday during his first day of testimony. “I wouldn’t do it again.”

Apparently the release of all the documents could be traced back to Ed Sanders, who was assigned to write a book about the Eagles in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Sanders reportedly sold five blocks of lyrics to Horowitz for $50,000, who in turn sold them to Inciardi and Kosinski for $65,000.

Reports of police reports were filed in 2012, 2014 and 2016, together with letters requesting the return of the pages from the legitimate owners.

Henley answered questions from the defendants’ three attorneys Monday and Tuesday, focusing primarily on his conversations with Sanders. Henley claimed that he gave Sanders access to various materials at that time, including the aforementioned lyric pages, but he did not give Sanders permission to keep the materials or sell them.

He said this agreement was based on a 1979 contract between the Eagles and Sanders that allowed Sanders to sell the book manuscript to publishers, but also stipulated that the contents remain the property of the band.

The defense presented evidence indicating that Henley voluntarily sent Sanders materials to his home in Woodstock, New York, and that neither he nor anyone else in the Eagles’ entourage asked for them to be returned. (Henley said he couldn’t remember whether he was like that or not.) Defense lawyers also said the 1979 contract was never mentioned when the issue of the 2012, 2014 and 2016 complaints arose.

Henley was asked numerous questions about his relationship with drugs in the 1970s, as well as his conviction following the overdose of a teenage escort at his home in 1980.

Henley said that “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are not normative,” adding, however, “I’ve always been clear-headed when I was doing business.”

On Wednesday, during cross-examination conducted by Deputy District Attorney Aaron Ginandes, Henley was asked whether he needed to review documents in 2012, 2014 or 2016 to determine whether the pages were stolen from him.

Henley said no “because I always knew those were my property.” Ginandes stressed that the pages have always legally belonged to Henley regardless of where they were physically located over the years.

Horowitz’s attorney, Jonathan Bach, asked Henley whether the 1979 contract included a timeline for returning the materials. Henley confirmed that this was not the case, but that he had “a common sense understanding that he would return the materials once he was finished with them.”

One of Henley’s lawyers, Thomas Jirgal, was called as a witness Wednesday to discuss interactions with Sotheby’s after they listed the text pages for auction in 2016. He testified that he had not provided a copy of the 1979 contract at Sotheby’s at the time, and that he could not recall when a copy of the agreement was found. Jirgal added that Sotheby’s did not ask for evidence proving Henley was the rightful owner, noting that he would have provided it if asked.

And the question continues. It is unclear how long the trial will take. Henley meanwhile will resume touring with the Eagles on March 1st in Hollywood, Florida.