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See Inside Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway’ Trial With Courtroom Illustrations

Artist Mona Shafer Edwards captured testimony and arguments from both sides

Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin Robert Plant Court Copyright Gallery Testify

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page sit side-by-side during the "Stairway to Heaven" trial, depicted here by courtroom illustrator Mona Shafer Edwards.

Mona Shafer Edwards

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."

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Janet Wolfe, Sister of Late “Taurus” Songwriter Randy California: Day Two

"She was, like, a character witness, talking about her brother and the loss of her brother," Edwards says. "She talked about how she sang with her brother when they were young. She said that Randy was really precocious and like this boy wonder. Jimi Hendrix had spotted them and asked Randy to play with his group but Randy couldn't because he was only 15. She talked about how she misses her brother and told the story about how he was swimming in Hawaii and disappeared and later drowned. It was emotional."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Two.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Jimmy Page on the Stand: Day Two

"He's discussing the sheet music deposit copy of 'Taurus,'" Edwards says. "He was very proper and politely answered questions. If he didn't understand, he'd ask for clarification. The audience seemed to react to what he said, and they did the same with Robert Plant. It was like the gallery was just sitting on edge, waiting to hear anything either one of them said. It was like a love fest."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Two.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Malofiy Cross-Examines Page: Day Three

"Malofiy postured a lot," Edwards says. "You can see it in his stance. He did a lot of moving his shoulders forward and curving his back. He's young. He's aggressive. He's made several mistakes. You know the phrase 'the elephant in the room'? He kept saying 'the pink elephant in the room,' which is totally different. That was one of the funniest things of the whole trial. If you're going to use an adage, at least get it correct.

"Jimmy Page was just so low-key," she continues. "He was more protected in what he said, a little bit more defensive. They're both very secure in their skin, like they don't have anything to prove."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Three.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Plaintiff Witness Kevin Hanson Plays Guitar for the Court: Day Three

"I thought he was very nice and played really well," Edwards says. "He was not as high a professional as the defense experts. He's a guitar teacher from Philadelphia and plays a lot of different instruments. I found him quite likable actually, much more likable than the defense."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Three.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Plaintiff Michael Skidmore Testifies: Day Four

"He seemed very terse," Edwards says. "He's not a man of many words. It seemed like he was uncomfortable and didn't really want to be here. Maybe he didn't think it would get this far. I don't know. He seemed like a very modest fellow, very quiet, respectful. Not cut out for this kind of stuff, I think. But he did look to be totally dedicated to Wolfe's family and the estate. The Wolfe family drove down here every day from Ventura, which is an hour-and-a-half drive."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Four.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Robert Plant at the Counsel Table: Day Four

"Here, Plant is pretty intently listening to Jimmy Page's testimony," Edwards says. "He didn't take notes. He just listened and watched respectfully. To draw him, I had to sort of stand up a little bit to see him, because he was blocked by the podium. So I would take mental photographs of him and sit back down. He never noticed me doing that. In fact, neither Plant nor Page looked around. You could see the audience was looking at them like, 'Please, please, please, look over here.' They looked as though they were there to do what they had to do and didn't want anything to do with anybody else."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Four.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Defense Witness and Musicologist Lawrence Ferrara Talks “Stairway”: Day Four

"He was a very smart guy, very affected," Edwards says. "Given the opportunity, he would have spoken for eight hours solid. He was very cocksure of himself. The music he played was nice. Anytime music was played, the judge said to the jury, 'I'm sure you'd want to hear more,' and people would laugh. It broke up the monotony.

"They never played the full music for 'Taurus,'" she continues. "And it was interesting that he played 'Stairway to Heaven' on a piano. It has a very different sound than on guitar. I don't really have an opinion on whether they sounded familiar. I just wanted it to be over. In this illustration, we're looking over Peter Anderson's shoulder."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Four.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Plaintiff Attorney Francis Malofiy During Closing Arguments: Day Six

"The judge was paying close attention to Malofiy, because, as I said, Malofiy makes lots of errors, because he is young," Edwards says. "Look, he got very far for this guy from Pennsylvania; he got to L.A. federal court on a huge trial. That in itself is quite a feat."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Six.

Led Zeppelin Head to Court Over 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Led Zeppelin Lawyer Peter Anderson During Closing Arguments: Day Six

"Peter Anderson is pointing out different notes that are different between 'Taurus' and 'Stairway,'" Edwards says. "The Hollenbeck document behind him is meant to show that the work was not owned by Skidmore or the Wolfe Trust." The judge later ruled that the latter defense was inadmissible.

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Six.

Led Zeppelin Verdict 'Stairway to Heaven'

Mona Shafer Edwards

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Before the Verdict: Day Seven

"Everybody came in, waiting for another full day of waiting for the verdict," Edwards says. "But it turned out the jury had a question. They wanted to see the plaintiff's expert's video, by Kevin Hanson, so they could hear 'Taurus' and 'Stairway to Heaven' again. They wanted it played twice. Then the jury went back and 10 minutes later there was a verdict. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were not so relaxed during this part."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Seven.

Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page Robert Plant Verdict 'Stairway to Heaven

Mona Shafer Edwards

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, After the Verdict: Day Seven

"During the verdict reading, I kept waiting for Plant and Page to show some expression, but they had pretty blank expressions," Edwards says. "You couldn't read anything from their faces. They were not relaxed looking. Jimmy Page's collar was not done up; his tie was loosened. And Robert Plant's hair had come down. Before the verdict, he'd had it back in a ponytail and by the time the verdict was read it had fallen out. They were more intense. After the jury left, they embraced their lawyers."

Read Rolling Stone's full report from Day Seven.