NEW YORK (AP) — A rock memorabilia dealer and two other men are charged with scheming to sell allegedly ill-gotten, handwritten lyrics to "Hotel California" and other hits by the Eagles.
The men pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges, which between the three of them include conspiracy, criminal possession of stolen property, and attempted criminal possession of stolen property.
The men were released without bail.
“New York is a world-class hub for art and culture, and those who deal cultural artifacts must scrupulously follow the law. There is no room for those who would seek to ignore the basic expectations of fair dealing and undermine the public’s confidence and trust in our cultural trade for their own ends,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a news release. “These defendants attempted to keep and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, despite knowing they had no right to do so. They made up stories about the origin of the documents and their right to possess them so they could turn a profit.”
Their lawyers insist the three are innocent, characterizing it as a "civil dispute" over ownership.
The trove of documents included Henley's notes and lyrics for "Hotel California" plus two others from that Grammy-winning 1976 album: "Life in the Fast Lane" and "New Kid In Town."
Prosecutors say the items are valued at over $1 million.
The Eagles' longtime manager thanked prosecutors for bringing the case.
According to prosecutors and court documents, an unnamed author who was hired to write a book of the rock band stole the manuscripts in the late 1970s, officials said.
Prosecutors said then in 2005, the unnamed writer sold them to Glenn Horowitz, who then, in turn, sold them to Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski.
Once hearing that Inciardi and Kosinski were trying to sell some of the documents, Eagles co-founder Don Henley filed police reports, informed the men the items were stolen, and demanded they return the property to him, prosecutors said.
"Rather than making any effort to ensure they actually had rightful ownership, the defendants responded by engaging in a years-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts," officials said.