The trial of three men accused of attempting to sell nearly 100 pages of allegedly stolen Eagles lyrics from the Hotel California album begins Wednesday, with opening statements taking place in Manhattan.

Manuscript dealer Glenn Horowitz, longtime Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi and rock auctioneer Edward Kosinki are named as defendants in the case and have been charged with conspiring to possess stolen property. The allegedly stolen materials contain early versions of Don Henley's handwritten notes and lyrics to massive hits such as “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid in Town” and are collectively valued at over $1 million.

Henley may testify during the trial, which will be decided by a judge instead of a jury. As the trial gets underway, here’s what you need to know about the lawsuit so far.

When Were Eagles' Lyrics Allegedly Stolen?

Court documents state that author and Fugs band member Ed Sanders stole Eagles’ song lyrics in the late ‘70s when he was hired to write a biography of the band that never saw the light of the day. Sanders allegedly sold the papers in 2005 to Horowitz, who in turn sold them to Inciardi and Kosinski.

When Henley learned that Inciardi and Kosinski were trying to sell portions of the pages to an auction house in 2016, he filed police reports and demanded the documents be returned to him. The Manhattan district attorney’s office seized the papers, and Horowitz, Inciardi and Kosinski were each indicted and charged with one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree in 2022. Inciardi and Kosinski were also charged with an additional count of criminal possession, and Horowitz was charged with attempted criminal possession of the stolen property and two counts of hindering prosecution. All three pleaded not guilty at the time.

“These defendants attempted to keep and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, despite knowing they had no right to do so," Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said in a July 2022 statement. "They made up stories about the origin of the documents and their right to possess them so they could turn a profit.”

READ MORE: New York Judge Hears Arguments Related to Stolen Eagles Lyrics

Kosinski's attorney, Antonia Marie Apps, argued that charges were not brought forward within the statute of limitations for a criminal case and that the DA failed to explain how the lyrics could have been stolen in the first place. She said the Eagles signed a contract in 1979 that allowed them to “furnish” material to Sanders for his unpublished book. “Artists frequently give away their lyrics," Apps argued, “and years later seek to recover those lyrics."

The Rock Hall also placed Inciardi on leave in 2022, "pending the resolution of the third party internal investigation and the extent of the charges once the indictment is unsealed." Around that time, Eagles manager Irving Azoff also expressed his satisfaction at the indictments and said he looked forward to the return of the documents.

“This action exposes the truth about music memorabilia sales of highly personal, stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” Azoff told Rolling Stone. “No one has the right to sell illegally obtained property or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history. These handwritten lyrics are an integral part of the legacy Don Henley has created over the course of his 50-plus-year career."

Eagles Albums Ranked

The Eagles have been rightly praised for their canny combining of Glenn Frey’s city-slicker R&B with Don Henley’s country-fried rockabilly. But which LP goes this distance?

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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