From the moment it was announced in April that Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" case was headed to trial, it was a cause célèbre. The very notion that the legendary hard rockers could have plagiarized parts of their most famous song from an obscure instrumental by the rock group Spirit, whose best-known hit is "I Got a Line on You," captivated the imaginations of fans.
Although reports of contentious battles from inside the L.A. courthouse – where the trial took place from its inception on June 14th until its conclusion on June 23rd – painted a gripping and colorful picture, it was the works of courtroom illustrator Mona Shafer Edwards that captured the drama between the plaintiff, who represented a trust founded in the name of late Spirit guitarist Randy California and Led Zeppelin. She captured the mannerisms of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, who are pictured above and Edwards says were "gentlemanly," as well as the posturing of flamboyant plaintiff attorney Francis Malofiy.
Here, Edwards presents drawings from throughout the trial – beginning on its second day after the jury was selected – and offers insights into what went on in the courtroom.
As for whether or not Led Zeppelin deserved to win as was decided Thursday, however, Edwards – who has been illustrating trials for about 30 years and documented the O.J. Simpson trial, Michael Jackson's court appearances and even the 2015 "Blurred Lines" case – told Rolling Stone their music was not her preferred soundtrack. "I love Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven," she says. "I like Led Zeppelin very much, but I'm not a fan of anybody per se. I don't have a bias. I appreciate the fact that here you've got two of the most famous iconic names in rock & roll history and I'm sitting 10 feet away and I appreciate the epic quality of the case, but to say that I'm a fan, no. I see fans lining up at 4:30 in the morning, carrying albums and cassettes, just waiting for the opportunity to get an autograph. That's what I call a fan."