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3 men charged in scheme to sell stolen Eagles manuscripts, including handwritten ‘Hotel California’ lyrics

The men are accused of conspiring sell more than 100 pages of the notes despite knowing founding Eagles member Don Henley wanted them back, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.
Don Henley
Don Henley performs at a farewell concert for Kenny Rogers in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 25, 2017.Laura Roberts / Invision/AP file

Three men were charged Tuesday in an alleged conspiracy to sell stolen manuscripts from the Eagles, which included handwritten lyrics from the band's iconic "Hotel California" album.

Glenn Horowitz, 66, Craig Inciardi, 58, and Edward Kosinski, 59, were indicted in a scheme to sell more than 100 pages of handwritten notes — valued at over $1 million — despite knowing founding Eagles member Don Henley was trying recover them, according to the district attorney's office in Manhattan, New York.

Henley's manager, Irving Azoff, thanked the prosecutor's office in a statement Tuesday. Azoff said the indictment "exposes the truth about music memorabilia sales."

"No one has the right to sell illegally obtained property or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history," Azoff said. "These handwritten lyrics are an integral part of the legacy Don Henley has created over the course of his 50-plus-year career."

Horowitz, a rare book dealer, is alleged to have bought the pages from an unidentified person in 2005 and to have later sold the pages to Inciardi and Kosinski, the prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutors say the person who sold the documents to Horowitz was an author who had been hired to write a biography about the Eagles and stole the documents. The author told Horowitz about having been given the pages but did not remember who provided them, prosecutors said.

The three suspects tried to sell the handwritten notes and lyrics from 2012 to 2017, even though they knew Henley was trying to regain possession of the stolen property, the district attorney's office said. The men went so far as to lie and falsify information to profit on the sale, prosecutors allege.

When Henley found out about the attempted sale, he filed police reports and alerted the suspects that the documents were, in fact, stolen, the district attorney's office said.

Prosecutors allege that emails included in the indictment Tuesday show the men tried to sell Henley the manuscripts in parts. An email from Horowitz to the author dated 2012 said Henley cannot "prove a single thing" in response to the theft allegations.

"Henley's lawyer originally liked the idea of Henley buying these pages back," the email said. "Henley decided to be a bully and that's all that's happening."

The indictment also includes emails alleged to have been exchanged with employees who expressed concern at Sotheby's auction house over Henley's objections to the sale and questioned the documents origins.

New York authorities retrieved the documents from Sotheby's through a search warrant in December 2016. An email from Horowitz to the person alleged to have sold him the documents in February 2017 indicated that Horowitz had been speaking to prosecutors and asked the author to name who gave him the documents.

The exchange revealed that Horowitz tried to exploit the recent death of founding Eagles member Glenn Frey to prevent criminal prosecution, prosecutors say.

"Back in 2012 you said you weren’t even sure the person was still alive," the email in the indictment read. In an "earlier communication you once suggested Frey was the person from whom you got the document."

"If Frey, he, alas, is dead and identifying him as the the source would make this go away once and for all."

In March 2017, Horowitz told members of the district attorney's office that the author accused of stealing the documents got them from Frey, whom he was trying to protect, according to the indictment.

Attorneys for Horowitz, Inciardi and Kosinski said in a joint statement after the men's arraignment Tuesday: “The DA’s office alleges criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of well-respected professionals. We will fight these unjustified charges vigorously. These men are innocent.”

Each of the three men is charged with a count of fourth-degree conspiracy. Inciardi and Kosinski are also charged with first-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Horowitz was also charged with first-degree attempted criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of second-degree hindering prosecution.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a news release that people dealing in "cultural artifacts must scrupulously follow the law."

"These defendants attempted to keep and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, despite knowing they had no right to do so," Bragg said. "They made up stories about the origin of the documents and their right to possess them so they could turn a profit.”