Legendary singer Don Henley was extorted three times as trio tried to milk him over stolen Hotel California lyrics, prosecutors say to open trial over alleged theft

A memorabilia dealer and two men accused of stealing handwritten notes and lyrics for the Eagles’ blockbuster 1976 album Hotel California allegedly tried to use the items to extort legendary singer Don Henley at least three times.

Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski are said to have tried to sell the materials, worth more than $1million, and lied to auction houses, prospective buyers and cops about how they obtained them between March 2012 and December 2016.

The accusation was laid out Wednesday in a Manhattan courtroom as the three suspects face criminal trial for the alleged theft.  

Henley found out about four pages of material being put up for auction in May 2012 and agreed to purchase it for $8,500, prosecutors said during the opening statements. 

But he was unaware there were still another 100 pages in their possession and declined two further attempts to purchase some lyrics back for $12,000 in 2012 and the complete set for $90,000 in 2016.

‘Henley refused to negotiate and refused to be extorted,’ Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Penfold told the court.

Horowitz, 68, of Manhattan; Inciardi, 59 of Brooklyn, and Kosinski, 61, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and criminal possession charges, and Horowitz to an extra charge of hindering prosecution.

Former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi (left) memorabilia seller Edward Kosinski(center) and rare-book dealer Glenn Horowitz (right) take their places on the defendants table. The three men face criminal trial over the alleged theft of Hotel California lyrics from the Eagles

Former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi (left) memorabilia seller Edward Kosinski(center) and rare-book dealer Glenn Horowitz (right) take their places on the defendants table. The three men face criminal trial over the alleged theft of Hotel California lyrics from the Eagles

Prosecutors said the three tried to use the items to extort legendary singer Don Henley at least three times

Prosecutors said the three tried to use the items to extort legendary singer Don Henley at least three times

Horowitz is said to have met author Ed Sanders, who worked with the Eagles on a band biography that was shelved in the early ‘80s, in 2005 and purchased five yellow legal pads filled with the band’s handwritten notes and lyrics for $50,000.

The memorabilia dealer eventually sold the works to Inciardi and Kosinski in 2012 and made $15,000 profit.

But once Henley saw four pages of lyrics from Hotel California listed on Kosinski’s auction website in 2012, his lawyer reached out to stop the sale.

‘Sanders, the source of the lyrics, was a thief and did not have the right to sell them,’ Penfold said.

‘Inciari simply made up a fiction for Sanders that he remembers finding these in a dressing room backstage around 35 years ago.

‘But Sanders responded he received the lyrics from an unnamed stage assistant but he didn’t know if the assistant was alive or dead.’

Horowitz then allegedly proposed that Henley buy the lyrics back for well below the auction minimum and agreed to wire $8,500 for the four pages.

But he did not know there were another 100 pages of material still out there and thought the matter was resolved before handwritten notes of Life in the Fast Lane were put up for auction in Sotheby’s in 2014.

That time he was allegedly given the chance to buy back the material for $12,000 but he refused to negotiate or ‘be extorted.’

The defendants failed to find any buyers for the lyrics on that occasion.

However, Inciardi and Kosinski returned to Sotheby’s in January 2016 and signed another private sale agreement.

Henley’s lawyers informed the auction house the lyrics were stolen and demanded they were returned.

The musician was then offered the chance to go ahead with the auction and split the profits or sell it to him for $90,000, but Henley refused.

Following that, a criminal investigation was launched and the New York City Police Department seized the lyrics from Sotheby’s and another 84 pages of lyrics notes were later taken.

Horowitz is said to have met author Ed Sanders, who worked with the Eagles on a band biography that was shelved in the early ‘80s, in 2005 and purchased five yellow legal pads filled with the band’s handwritten notes and lyrics for $50,000. The three are accused of then trying to sell the illegally obtained notes

Horowitz is said to have met author Ed Sanders, who worked with the Eagles on a band biography that was shelved in the early ‘80s, in 2005 and purchased five yellow legal pads filled with the band’s handwritten notes and lyrics for $50,000. The three are accused of then trying to sell the illegally obtained notes

The Eagles' hit Hotel California and its album have gone on to become classics

The Eagles’ hit Hotel California and its album have gone on to become classics

‘Henley refused to negotiate and refused to be extorted,’ Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Penfold told the court.

‘Henley refused to negotiate and refused to be extorted,’ Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Penfold told the court.

‘Horowitz concocted that Sanders had received them from the recently deceased Glenn Fry, he thought this could not be refuted,’ prosecutor Penfold told the court.

‘He went out to manipulate Sanders and concoct his new lie. When Sanders later voiced confusion, Horowitz explained “all you and I care about is the chain of transmission. Fry to you and you to me.”’

Sanders allegedly compiled and sent back a statement where he claimed he was shielding Fry.

‘The defendants were not businessmen acting in good faith, but criminal actors,’ Penfold said.

He said they ‘deceived and manipulated to try to frustrate’ Henley’s efforts to recover manuscripts that were rightfully his.

‘You’ll learn that Henley was deeply committed to his art and his craft. He was a perfectionist who labored over every word and rhyme in his lyrics,’ Penfold said.

‘Refining each song on yellow legal sized notepads until it was finally ready to be shared with the world,’ the prosecutor said. 

He added Henley saved his notebooks and placed them away in his Malibu property.

Kosinsk appears at court before the opening statements began

Kosinsk appears at court before the opening statements began

Craig Iciardi

Glenn Horowitz

Iciardi (left) and Horowitz (right) were seen outside the courtroom as the trial began over their alleged theft of notes from the band the Eagles

But Penfold claimed Sanders took five legal pads, which had more than 100 pages of handwritten notes for the Hotel California album, and kept them as his own.

The prosecutor said Horowitz visited the author’s home to review his archive and proposed selling the notes.

‘Sanders explained in an email that he acquired the Eagles’ notes while staying in Henley’s place in Malibu.

‘It cast significant doubt on whether Sanders owned the notes. Evidence will show that Horowitz ignored this.

‘He offered the notes to a couple of potential buyers and then in 2007 he bought it himself to flip it for a profit.

‘Horowitz sold the entire collection he acquired, the evidence will show they bought the notepads to break them down and sell them.

‘Each of these defendants understood the importance of these lyrics.’

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