Shocking never-before-seen documents from an ongoing trial concerning allegedly stolen Eagles lyrics shine new light on an infamous night in 1980 when Don Henley was arrested after a teen overdosed at his home.

Henley has always maintained that the overdose happened during a going-away party packed with crew members as the band began a lengthy post-'70s hiatus. Henley was charged with giving cocaine to a minor, but said he took the rap to protect the others. He also has maintained that he never had sex with the teen.

"There were roadies and guys in my house – we were having a farewell to the Eagles," Henley told GQ in 1991. "I got all of them out of the house; I took complete blame for everything. I was stupid; I could have flushed ev­erything down the toilet. I didn't want this girl dying in my house. I wanted to get her medical at­tention. I did what I thought was best, and I paid the price."

A contemporary letter written by Henley to a Santa Monica probation officer, now introduced into evidence in the unrelated current trial, tells a very different story.

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Rather than taking place at a party, Henley writes that he was depressed and alone when he called an escort service. Soon, a young woman appeared at the door, and they shared some cocaine while getting to know one another better. "She told me that she was only a temporary call-girl until she paid off a $2,000 cocaine debt in San Diego," Henley writes in the statement. He says she later admitted to doing more coke "every time I got up to get her a drink or went to the toilet."

In the letter, Henley says he tried to have sex with the teen before she mentioned that she didn't feel well. He was in the bathroom getting her aspirin, according to the statement, when she began to have a seizure.

Henley called for help, but the teen appeared to have recovered by the time paramedics arrived. He says they left after Henley promised to get her home safely. He says he then called a friend to give her a ride, and the friend had just arrived when members of the Los Angeles Police Department's Sexually Exploited Child Unit arrived on the morning of Nov. 24, 1980.

News reports said investigators confiscated 22 grams of cocaine and five ounces of marijuana, as well as Quaaludes and other drugs. The 16-year-old escort, apparently still naked, was charged with prostitution while her 15-year-old friend was arrested for being under the influence of drugs.

Then in his early 30s, Henley later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was ultimately sentenced to two years probation and a $2,500 fine.

'It's No Big Deal'

In this bygone era, there appeared to be little worry over how this would impact Henley's career. "It's no big deal," a record-label executive told the Los Angeles Times. "Kids don't exactly put rock stars on a pedestal these days." That's how it played out.

Henley's description of himself as a sympathetic fall guy in this ugly incident became an understood part of Eagles history. He also leveraged personal outrage over related media coverage into his first solo radio hit. The whole thing basically slipped into the past.

Then a new trial got underway this week in the case of allegedly stolen lyrics sheets from the Hotel California era. Attorneys for Edward Kosinski, one of the accused, sought to introduce Henley's letter into the record and interrogate him about his public descriptions of the night in question.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Aaron Ginandes fought to have it excluded. "Mr. Henley has a 1980 misdemeanor conviction and given the length of time, how long ago that was, and the fact that that misdemeanor conviction has – the nature of it is quite prejudicial and it has absolutely no probative value," Ginandes argued.

Judge Curtis Farber disagreed, and the letter will be part of the defendant attorneys' attempts to impeach Henley's honesty. Henley will apparently testify between Eagles tour stops.

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