The Eagles’ Don Henley questioned in court regarding his 1980 arrest: “A poor decision”

The EaglesDon Henley has been questioned in a New York courtroom over his 1980 arrest.

Henley was testifying in an unrelated trial surrounding the unauthorised sale of handwritten lyrics to The Eagles’ hits ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Life In The Fast Lane’, estimated to be worth over $1million (£792,000) in total.

On Monday (February 28), the case for the prosecution questioned Henley about his arrest in November 1980, which happened when a 16-year-old was found overdosing on drugs at his LA home. The prosecution aimed to get ahead of the defence lawyers, who were due to question his memory and behaviour during his time with The Eagles.


Henley told the court that the 16-year-old was a sex worker he had hired because he “wanted to escape the depression [he] was in” after The Eagles disbanded. He claimed he was unaware of her age and that they never ended up having sexual relations – “I don’t remember the anatomical details, but I know there was no sex,” he said.

Instead, Henley claimed that they simply talked about their respective difficulties – the end of The Eagles and the sex worker’s estrangement from her family – and took a significant amount of cocaine together.

“I wanted to forget about everything that was happening with the band, and I made a poor decision which I regret to this day,” he said. “I’ve had to live with it for 44 years. I’m still living with it today, in this courtroom.”

Don Henley
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 26: Don Henley of The Eagles leaves Manhattan Criminal Court on February 26, 2024 in New York City. A judge will continue hearing testimony in a criminal case involving the ownership of the handwritten lyrics for songs on The Eagles’ “Hotel California” album. (Photo by Adam Gray/Getty Images)

At the time, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour charge of ‘contributing to the delinquency of a minor’. He received probation and a $2,500 fine.

The trial relating to the unauthorised sale of the lyrics sheets began on February 21 and is expected to last 10 days.


Back in 2022, Glenn Horowitz, Edward Kosinski and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame curator Craig Inciardi were accused of attempting to sell handwritten notes and lyrics. The pieces were stolen in the 1970s, and Henley has been trying to recover them for years.

It is claimed that they were pawned off to Horowitz – a rare book dealer – in 2005. Horowitz, Inciardi and memorabilia seller Kosinski then allegedly began selling to various auction houses, as well as trying to coerce Henley into buying them back.

The three men have each pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and various other charges, per Associated Press. Their lawyers have claimed that the case “alleges criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of well-respected professionals”.

Meanwhile, last month saw The Eagles announce two extra final UK shows to ‘The Long Goodbye’ Manchester farewell residency. You can find any remaining tickets here.