Manhattan District Attorney Abruptly Drops Charges in Don Henley Lyrics Theft Case

Manhattan district attorney Don Henley lyrics theft case
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Manhattan district attorney Don Henley lyrics theft case
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Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan / CC by 2.0

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has dismissed the charges against Eagles frontman Don Henley after he disclosed nearly 6,000 pages of new evidence, casting doubt on the prosecution.

Justice Curtis Farber has dropped the charges against the three men accused of a scheme involving so-called stolen lyrics to The Eagles’ hit “Hotel California” today after frontman Don Henley disclosed nearly 6,000 pages of new evidence midway through the trial. Farber ruled that Henley “manipulated” the Manhattan District Attorney’s office by failing to turn over substantial key evidence from the get-go.

At a hearing Wednesday morning (March 6) in Manhattan Supreme Court, Farber said Henley and his lawyers tried to “weaponize their attorney-client privilege” to “hide information that they believed would be damaging.” The judge approved Manhattan prosecutors’ movement to throw out the charges in light of the new evidence, which allegedly included emails from Henley that cast significant doubt on his claim that the handwritten lyrics to the song, as well as other valuable merchandise, had been stolen.

The new evidence came to light after Henley and longtime Eagles manager Irving Azoff had repeatedly cited their attorney-client privilege to keep communications secret while taking the stand as witnesses at the trial. This was done despite the prosecutors’ “express and repeated requests” to the contrary.

Still, the two appeared to waive that privilege in the last few days, resulting in “the belated production of approximately 6,000 pages of material” that Assistant District Attorney Aaron Ginandes writes should have been presented to the court much sooner to give the defendants’ lawyers the chance to question Azoff and Henley about.

Attorneys for the three men accused — rare books dealer Glenn Horowitz, former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, and memorabilia seller Edward Kosinki — were notably displeased with the DA’s office for allowing the case to “get this far.”

“The district attorney in this case got blinded by the fame and fortune of a celebrity and brought a case that would never have been brought if it was just a normal person involved,” said Scott Edelman, attorney for Kosinki. “That blinded them to the information that they weren’t being given and led to the events of today.”

Kosinki, Inciardi, and Horowitz were charged with conspiracy to possess stolen property among other offenses for what was alleged to be a plan to sell the handwritten lyrics and other memorabilia back to Henley in a bid to make “thousands” from the so-called stolen documents.

Meanwhile, Henley’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, says that the rocker is still the case’s “victim,” and that a civil lawsuit is still on the table.