Three people are accused of planning to sell the handwritten lyrics to the Eagles song “Hotel California” while aware that they had been stolen.
Don Henley, the band’s singer and drummer, wrote the lyrics and notes for their well-known 1976 record, which are now valued at more than $1 million (£840,000).
According to the prosecution, the defendants lied about the provenance of the material to the police, prospective buyers, and auction companies.
Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi, and Edward Kosinski all deny the allegations.
Mr. Inciardi is an “employee with curator responsibilities” at the Cleveland, Ohio-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, according to the institution.
According to the New York District Attorney’s office, the three were involved in a “years-long campaign to hinder Henley from reclaiming the manuscripts.”
The district attorney claims that in the late 1970s, someone who was being paid to write a biography of the group stole the lyrics of songs like Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane, and New Kid in Town.
In 2005, the biographer purportedly sold them to Mr. Horowitz, a trader in rare books.
According to the allegations, Mr. Horowitz sold the products to Mr. Kosinski in New Jersey and Mr. Inciardi in Brooklyn.
After learning that the latter two were attempting to sell part of the 100 pages of manuscripts, Henley filed police complaints and demanded the return of his property. However, the men allegedly refused to do so.
In New York, all three defendants have entered not-guilty pleas to accusations of conspiracy and criminal possession, as well as Mr. Horowitz’s charge of obstructing justice.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said that Mr. Inciardi had been suspended and that an internal inquiry was being carried out.
The Eagles’ fifth studio album, Hotel California, debuted at number one on the US Billboard chart, and the album’s title single was named record of the year at the Grammy Awards.
With more than 30 million copies sold worldwide, it continues to be one of the best-selling LPs of all time. It was twice ranked at number 37 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Over time, Henley’s late bandmate Glenn Frey talked about how the record led to the breakup of the Eagles.