Don Henley's lawyer says he's 'victimized' by dismissal of stolen 'Hotel California' lyrics case

Don Henley's lawyer says he's 'victimized' by dismissal of stolen 'Hotel California' lyrics case

A New York judge has dismissed a criminal case centering on Eagles lyrics that Henley maintains were stolen from him.

Don Henley has learned the hard way that when it comes to legal proceedings, a judge can check out any time they like.

On Wednesday, a lawyer for the Eagles co-founder expressed dismay as the criminal case against rare-books dealer Glenn Horowitz imploded following the disclosure of 6,000 pages of material by Henley's legal team. Henley has vowed to continue fighting for restitution over what he says is stolen property, in the form of dozens of pages of handwritten lyrics.

"The attorney-client privilege is a foundational guardrail in our justice system, and rarely, if ever, should you have to forsake it to prosecute or defend a case," Henley's newly hired attorney Dan Petrocelli said in a statement provided to EW. "As the victim in this case, Mr. Henley has once again been victimized by this unjust outcome. He will pursue all his rights in the civil courts."

Justice Curtis Farber of New York State Supreme Court granted a dismissal request by the Manhattan district attorney's office upon the "jarringly late" disclosure, contending that Henley, his agent, and his legal team had acted "to obfuscate and hide information that they believed would be damaging to their position that the lyric sheets were stolen," according to the New York Times.

<p>Ethan Miller/Getty </p> Don Henley

Ethan Miller/Getty

Don Henley

The trial, which had been underway for two weeks and featured numerous days of testimony from Henley, centered on approximately 100 pages of draft lyrics for some of the hit songs he helped write for his beloved 1970s rock group, including "Hotel California," "New Kid in Town," and "Life in the Fast Lane."

Prosecutors said that the drafts were stolen by author Ed Sanders, who had signed a contract to write a book about the Eagles in the late '70s that was never published. Sanders, who has not been charged, sold the documents to Horowitz in 2005, per the DA's office, and Horowitz subsequently sold them to Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski, who were also defendants in the trial.

When Horowitz, Inciardi, and Kosinski were first charged, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. alleged in a news release that they "attempted to sell the manuscripts, manufactured false provenance, and lied to auction houses, potential buyers, and law enforcement about the origin of the material" despite knowing that the papers, collectively valued at more than $1 million, were stolen.

How the documents ended up on the open market remains a question. Henley testified that he allowed Sanders access to documents but never gave up his ownership, and prosecutors argued that theft occurred when Sanders neglected to return the materials in a timely manner. The defense argued that their clients could not be found guilty because no theft had taken place.

Henley had already purchased the "Hotel California" drafts for $8,500 before he filed the suit. When further lyric pages were placed up for auction, Henley turned to the DA's office, which seized more than 100 additional pages from the auction house and Kosinski's home.

The fate of the lyric pages is still undecided.

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