Charges Dismissed in ‘Hotel California’ Theft Conspiracy Case

The criminal trial of a prominent rare books dealer accused of conspiring to possess dozens of pages of handwritten lyrics by the Eagles co-founder Don Henley collapsed abruptly on Wednesday as a judge in Manhattan dismissed the charges in the case, citing concerns about how evidence had been handled.

The dismissal by Justice Curtis Farber of State Supreme Court, two weeks into the trial that had already included days of testimony by Mr. Henley, was a severe blow to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which began investigating the case several years ago.

It was also a form of vindication for the book dealer, Glenn Horowitz, and two other men standing trial along with him.

The case centered on some 100 pages of draft lyrics for hit songs by the Eagles including “Hotel California,” “New Kid in Town” and “Life in the Fast Lane.”

Prosecutors say the notes were stolen decades ago by an author who had signed a contract in the late 1970s to write a book about the Eagles that was never published. The author, Ed Sanders, has not been charged. He sold the documents in 2005 to Mr. Horowitz, who in turn sold them to the two other defendants, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which began investigating after complaints by Mr. Henley.

The trial took a sudden turn after Mr. Henley’s lawyers sent a trove of evidence to defense lawyers and prosecutors last weekend. That evidence, including hundreds of email messages between Mr. Henley, his agent, a private investigator and several lawyers working for him, was produced after Mr. Henley waived attorney-client privilege.

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