‘Hotel California’ defendants file motion to dismiss charges
Lawyers for the three men charged with their role in the attempted sale of memorabilia from the making of the Eagles’ historic ‘Hotel California’ album, including Don Henley’s handwritten lyric sheets for the title track, filed on Wednesday motions asking that the case be dismissed. out.
Petitions to the New York Supreme Court, on behalf of Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski, cited a variety of reasons for dismissal, including statute of limitations, violation of due process, insufficient evidence and illegally obtained evidence.
“The people have turned to very creative prosecution theories,” Horowitz attorney Jonathan Bach wrote in his motion, “trying to make a non-existent case.”
Charges were filed against the defendants in July by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, setting the stage for a high-stakes trial uncommon in the world of rare memorabilia, where disputes are often settled by the through civil rather than criminal litigation.
Horowitz, a major figure among literary archivists, is charged with conspiracy, attempted criminal possession of stolen property, and obstruction of prosecution; he faces up to 15 years in prison. Inciardi and Kosinski, both specializing in rock memorabilia, are jointly charged with possession of stolen property and conspiracy; each faces up to 25 years in prison.
The “Hotel California” lyric sheet saga begins in the late 1970s, when author and musician Ed Sanders was hired to write an official Eagles biography, which was never published. In 2005, “Individual 1,” as mentioned in the indictment, sold Horowitz about 100 pages of Henley’s handwritten lyric sheets for songs from the 1976 album “Hotel California.” “Individual 1” is not charged and remains unnamed in the indictment, the new motions by defendants’ attorneys name Sanders as the perpetrator who originally sold the documents for $50,000. (The indictment valued the documents at more than $1 million.)
According to the prosecutor’s office, Horowitz then sold the material to Inciardi and Kosinski, who both attempted to sell the items through different auctions. This drew the ire of Henley, who demanded the return of the material, which he claimed had been stolen. “Despite knowing the documents were stolen,” read the original DA press release, “defendants attempted to sell the manuscripts, fabricated false provenance, and lied to auction houses, buyers potential and law enforcement about the origin of the material”.
In turn, the defendants’ attorneys argue that the papers were never stolen, since Sanders, the source of the documents, is not charged. “The People assured Ed Sanders, the originator of this odyssey, that he had done nothing wrong,” wrote Stacey Richman, Craig Inciardi’s lawyer, in his client’s file. “He was assured he would not be arrested and despite requests the people refused to identify Mr. Sanders as an unindicted co-conspirator. Mr. Sanders claimed he did not steal the lyric pages.
“If the people are of the opinion that Mr. Sanders is not a thief,” writes Antonia Apps, Kosinski’s attorney, in her filing, “the Court should dismiss the indictment in its entirety, because the basis of the crime of criminal possession of stolen property is that the property possessed was in fact stolen.
Apps also claims in its filing that Henley approached the prosecutor’s office “to make his offer” only after the opportunity to pursue any civil action had expired.
“Hotel California” is the second best-selling studio album of all time in the United States, behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
If the defendants are found guilty, Henley — who previously purchased an early strip of “Hotel California” lyric pages in 2012 for $8,500 — will receive the remaining material in the set, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Regarding the new documents filed this week, the prosecutor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. A hearing in the case is scheduled for October 14.
A representative for Henley declined to comment.