Hotel California manuscripts at the center of a trial in

“Hotel California” manuscripts at the center of a trial in New York

The leader of the rock group Eagles, Don Henley, presented himself Monday as a victim of “blackmail” in the New York trial of three men accused of trying to sell hundreds of stolen pages of handwritten notes from the album “Hotel California.” (1976).

• Also read: A notebook with lyrics by the group Eagles at the center of a car chase

His scribbled pages, which appeared in large notebooks, were “the product of our work”, “the stupid things we wrote” before arriving at the final work such as the global hit “Hotel California”, the founder explained on the witness stand. Singer and drummer of the Eagles, currently in the middle of a farewell world tour.

“They shouldn’t be seen” and “I won’t show them today,” added the 76-year-old musician, suit and tie, white hair.

Sitting in front of him in the dock are three men who are involved in the world of collectors: Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski are charged with criminal possession of stolen property, and Glenn Horowitz is charged with attempted attempted murder. All have pleaded not guilty and denied any illegal acts, saying they legally acquired the disputed sites.

The case dates back to the late 1970s, when an author hired by the Californian rock group to write his biography was entrusted with the notes he never wanted to return. Don Henley sees this as theft. Not the defense, which emphasizes that the author will not be charged in court.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, the author eventually sold the pages in 2005 to Glenn Horowitz, a rare book dealer, who then sold them to Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski.

Years after the breakup of the now newly formed group, the musician experienced the return of some pages to the Internet for the first time in 2012. After contacting his lawyer and “some back and forth,” he ultimately obtains possession of the pages himself for $8,500 because it was the “most effective” and “practical” way to “buy back what was mine.”

Additional pages will resurface at auction in subsequent years, most notably many thirteen handwritten pages for the song “Hotel California.”

“I had already been blackmailed once,” said Don Henley, who contacted the Manhattan district attorney’s office in 2016, which opened a case. The process takes place over several days.