Prosecutors Dismisses Charges Against Three Men Accused of Stealing Hand Written Notes Containing Hotel California Lyrics

Earlier this week, prosecutors abruptly dismissed a case, in the middle of trial, against three men accused of stealing the hand written notes of Eagles co-founder Don Henley that contained the original lyrics for popular songs such as “Hotel California” and others by the band. On trial were three, well-established figures in the collectibles world, who had come into possession of the notes after Henley give them to a writer from a never published Eagles biography, who later sold them to one of the defendants, who sold it to the others, before they began to sell pages at auction. Don Henley refutes that he ever gave permission, but the charges were dropped in the case after he waived some attorney-client privileged communications which reveled in the delayed disclosures, communication between Henley’s lawyers and a private investigator that spoke about initially characterizing the notes disappearance as a “burglary” because they believed it would help bring criminal charges.  In dismissing the case, Judge Curtis Farber said that witnesses and their lawyers used attorney-client privilege “to obfuscate and hide information that they believed would be damaging” and that the prosecution “were apparently manipulated.” One of the defense attorneys believed prosecutors “got blinded by the fame and fortune of a celebrity” in bringing charges. This case highlights both the need for prosecutorial discretion in bringing charges against individuals that are based solely on credibility determinations, but also the necessity of anyone accused of a he-said, she-said crime, of having strong defense attorneys to protect their clients against individuals who can manipulate prosecutors and the criminal justice system into bringing false charges.