Trial over stolen 'Hotel California' lyrics abruptly ends after prosecutors drop charges, citing new emails

Trending 1 month ago

New York prosecutors abruptly dropped their criminal lawsuit midtrial Wednesday against 3 men who had been accused of colluding to possess a cache of hand-drafted lyrics to “Hotel California” and different Eagles hits.

The lawsuit was brought successful 2022 was against 3 men well-known successful nan collectibles world — rare-book trader Glenn Horowitz, erstwhile Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi and memorabilia seller Edward Kosinski.

The lawsuit centered connected astir 100 pages of legal-pad pages from nan creation of nan 1976 classical stone medium "Hotel California" — nan third-biggest seller of each clip successful nan U.S. 

When lyric sheets started to popular up successful auctions successful 2012, it drew nan ire of Eagles co-founder Don Henley.

Those pages had been shared pinch Ed Sanders, a writer who worked connected an Eagles set curriculum vitae that ne'er sewage published. He sold them to Horowitz who successful move sold them to Kosinski and Inciardi, and from location nan pages made it to auctions. Henley had bought backmost immoderate of nan worldly for $8,500 but besides reported nan documents stolen, tribunal filings said. 

The defendants had pleaded not blameworthy to charges including conspiracy to criminally person stolen property.

Charges dropped

The trial, that started precocious February, came to a astonishment halt connected Wednesday.

Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Aaron Ginandes informed nan judge astatine 10 a.m. that prosecutors would nary longer proceed pinch nan case, citing recently disposable emails that defense lawyers said raised questions astir nan trial’s fairness.

The raft of communications emerged only erstwhile Eagles prima Henley apparently decided past week to waive attorney-client privilege, aft he and different prosecution witnesses had already testified. The defense based on that nan caller disclosures raised questions that it hadn’t been capable to ask.

“Witnesses and their lawyers” utilized attorney-client privilege “to obfuscate and hide accusation that they believed would beryllium damaging,” Judge Curtis Farber said successful dismissing nan case.

In a missive to nan court, Ginandes, nan prosecutor, said nan waiver of attorney-client privilege resulted successful nan belated accumulation of astir 6,000 pages of material.

“These delayed disclosures revealed applicable accusation that nan defense should person had nan opportunity to research successful cross-examination of nan People’s witnesses,” Ginandes wrote.

Prosecutors had based on nan men knew nan pages had a dubious concatenation of ownership but peddled them anyway, scheming to fabricate a provenance that would walk muster pinch auction houses and stave disconnected demands to return nan documents to Henley.

Through their lawyers, nan men contended that they were rightful owners of pages that weren’t stolen by anyone.

The defense maintained that Henley gave nan documents to Sanders decades ago, starting nan concatenation of events that yet landed nan pages up for auction.

Henley testified that astatine nan proceedings that he fto nan writer pore done nan documents for investigation but “never talented them aliases gave them to anybody to support aliases sell.”

The writer wasn’t charged pinch immoderate crime and hasn’t taken nan stand. He hasn’t responded to messages astir nan trial.

“We are gladsome nan territory attorney’s agency yet made nan correct determination to driblet this case. It should ne'er person been brought,” Jonathan Bach, an lawyer for Horowitz, said extracurricular court.

Horowitz hugged tearful family members but did not remark while leaving nan court, nor did Inciardi.

Henley’s existent lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, said successful an emailed connection that nan attorney-client privilege that had antecedently shielded immoderate of nan communications “is a foundational guardrail successful our justness system” that should seldom beryllium forsaken.

“As nan unfortunate successful this case, Mr. Henley has erstwhile again been victimized by this cruel outcome,” Petrocelli said. “He will prosecute each his authorities successful nan civilian courts.

NBC News has reached retired to nan Manhattan District Attorney's Office for comment.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Marlene Lenthang

Breaking News Reporter