Three men accused of attempting to sell stolen Eagles lyrics appeared in court in New York City on Friday.
Judge Curtis Farber heard arguments from each of the men’s attorneys and set a date for a final decision to be made on Jan. 13. All three men — Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, book trader Glenn Horowitz and rock auctioneer Edward Kosinski — were charged in July in the case, which involves approximately 100 pages of Don Henley’s handwritten notes and lyrics, including various songs from the band’s 1976 album, Hotel California.
According to court documents obtained by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the lyrics were stolen sometime in the late ’70s by Ed Sanders, who had been hired to write a biography of the band. Sanders is reported to have sold the papers to Horowitz in 2005, who in turn sold them to Inciardi and Kosinski. When Henley was made aware that Inciardi and Kosinski were attempting to sell portions of the pages to an auction house in 2016, he filed police reports and demanded the documents be returned to him. The DA office then seized the papers. Six years later, each of the three men was indicted and charged with one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree. Inciardi and Kosinski were also charged with an additional count of criminal possession, and Horowitz was charged with attempted criminal possession of the stolen property and two counts of hindering prosecution. All three pleaded not guilty at the time.
“These defendants attempted to keep and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, despite knowing they had no right to do so,” Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said in an earlier statement. “They made up stories about the origin of the documents and their right to possess them so they could turn a profit.” (The documents are estimated to be worth over $1 million.)
Kosinski’s attorney, Antonia Marie Apps, argued that charges had not been brought within the statute of limitation for a criminal case and the DA also failed to produce a plausible theory as to how the lyrics were stolen in the first place. “They say, instead, ‘Trust us,'” Apps stated. She reiterated that the Eagles signed a specific 1979 contract that allowed the band to “furnish” material to Sanders for the book, which was never published. “Artists frequently give away their lyrics,” Apps said. “And years later seek to recover those lyrics.”
Horowitz’s attorney, Jonathan Bach, described the argument as “fallacious” and that “prosecutors and courts have to be careful with conspiracy.” Bach added that there was not sufficient evidence provided to prove his client had “attempted to get his hands on something and failed.”
“It’s clever what they did,” he concluded. “But they don’t have the evidence.”
Lawyers from the DA’s office didn’t offer many rebuttals to the defendant’s arguments, stating multiple times, “The People will rely on their submissions.”
Inciardi is one of the Rock Hall’s longest-tenured employees, having worked with the organization in the lead-up to its 1995 opening. For the past decade, he’s been based out of New York City and has been involved in the planning and execution of various recent exhibits and projects, including The Beatles: Get Back to Let It Be, which opened in March. After the July indictment, he was placed on leave by the Rock Hall. “At this time we do not know whether Craig engaged in any wrongdoing,” Rock Hall President and CEO Joel Peresman said in a letter obtained by Rolling Stone at the time. “He will remain on leave pending the resolution of the third party internal investigation and the extent of the charges once the indictment is unsealed.”
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