Eagles Manager Takes The Stand At Stolen Lyrics Trial

Eagles Manager Takes The Stand At Stolen Lyrics Trial | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via WFAA / Youtube

Longtime Eagles manager Irving Azoff appeared in court in New York City on Wednesday, providing testimony in a criminal trial centered around nearly 100 pages of allegedly stolen Eagles lyrics from the iconic “Hotel California” album.

Legal Charges Against Defendants

Three individuals, rare-books collector Glenn Horowitz, former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, and rock auctioneer Edward Kosinki, are each facing charges of conspiracy in the fourth degree, which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison. Additionally, Horowitz faces charges of first-degree attempted criminal possession of stolen property, along with two counts of hindering prosecution, while Inciardi and Kosinski are charged with first-degree counts of criminal possession.

The handwritten lyrics, penned by Eagles’ drummer and vocalist Don Henley, hold a significant value, estimated at over $1 million. Originally entrusted to writer Ed Sanders for an authorized Eagles biography, the book was never published after being rejected by a publisher.

In 2005, Horowitz purchased five legal pads containing the lyrics for $50,000, later selling them to Inciardi and Kosinski for $65,000.


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Henley’s Response and Legal Action

Henley became aware of the sale in 2012 and subsequently bought back several pages of his own lyrics for $8,500, filing a police report for stolen property the same year.

“Don made the decision [after other lyrics then appeared on the market],” Azoff testified during the trial [via Rolling Stone]. “He felt he was being extorted and he didn’t know the extent to which what else was out there and it would open up a can of worms and he would have to continue to write more and more checks to get his lyrics back.”

Azoff highlighted that Sanders had permission to shop the biography to other publishers, but stressed that the contents of the documents remained under the Eagles’ control. He described the arrangement as “the lesser of two evils.” Although a contract presented at the trial confirmed the agreement, Azoff admitted uncertainty regarding whether anyone within the Eagles’ team had informed Sanders that selling the pages violated the contract.

Legal Perspectives: Prosecution vs. Defense

In their opening arguments, the prosecution portrayed Horowitz, Inciardi, and Kosinski as “[criminal actors who deceived and manipulated to frustrate Henley’s just efforts to recover his stolen property and to forestall legal accountability]”. Conversely, the defense argued that Sanders had not faced charges and their clients were unaware of any impropriety regarding the documents.

Azoff is anticipated to return to the stand later this week, coinciding with the presentation of a recently unearthed tape recording between himself and Sanders. Henley is slated to testify in the following week.

The trial continues as both sides present their evidence and witnesses, shedding light on the complex legal dispute surrounding the stolen lyrics and the efforts to reclaim them.