Judge Says Don Henley “Manipulated” Prosecutors, Dismisses Criminal Case Over “Hotel California” Lyrics

A Manhattan judge abruptly dismissed a criminal case against three men accused of stealing dozens of pages of handwritten lyrics to Eagles hits including “Hotel California” after concluding that band member Don Henley “manipulated” prosecutors by withholding evidence.

Three men — Glenn Horowitz, a rare book dealer; Craig Inciardi, a curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and Edward Kosinski, a memorabilia auctioneer — were all charged in 2022 with conspiracy over accusations that they had illegally obtained over 100 pages of lyrics from Henley.

The defendants maintained that they had legally obtained the lyric sheets from author Ed Sanders, who was hired in the 1970s to write a book about the Eagles.

During a hearing on Wednesday (via Billboard), Justice Curtis Farber revealed that Henley recently handed over more than 6,000 pages of emails and other notes that lent credence to the defense’s claims that Sanders had legitimately come into possession of Henley’s lyrics. The materials were previously withheld under attorney-client privilege.


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“It is now clear that [Henley and longtime Eagles manger Irving Azoff] and their lawyers … used the privilege to obfuscate and hide information that they believed would be damaging to their position that the lyric sheets were stolen,” Justice Farber said during Wednesday’s hearing.

“Albeit late, I commend the prosecution for refusing to allow itself or the courts to be further manipulated for the benefit of anyone’s personal gain. District Attorney Bragg and the prosecutorial team here, while eating a slice of humble pie, are displaying the highest level of integrity in moving to dismiss the charges. I am impressed.”

In a statement to The Associated Press following the case’s dismissal, Henley’s attorney Dan Petrocelli said his client “has once again been victimized by this unjust outcome,” and added that Henley “will pursue all his rights in the civil courts.”


The Eagles are currently amidst their “Long Goodbye” farewell tour with Steely Dan.

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