Leonard Cohen has given evidence against his former manager Kelley Lynch, who he fired in 2004 amidst allegations she had stolen from the iconic singer, leaving him facing bankruptcy. Cohen subsequently successfully sued Lynch, though has struggled to claim the $9 million in damages the courts awarded him. He subsequently toured to rebuild his finances.
Lynch has now been found guilty on criminal charges of harassing various people, including Cohen, and of violating previous restraining orders issued against her. In court the singer, who once had a brief romantic relationship with Lynch, said his former manager sent him long and rambling voicemail messages and emails which became increasingly frequent, with sometimes twenty to thirty messages received each day, and these sometimes included violent threats. The messages accused Cohen of drug addiction amongst other things. Lynch was held in custody as the case progressed in lieu of $25,000 bail and was found guilty of two counts of leaving or sending harassing or obscene messages and five counts of violating a restraining order. Whilst all charges were misdemeanours, Lynch was given an eighteen month custodial sentence as part of a five year sentence, during which time she will have to take part in various alcohol and anger management programmes following which here sentence will be reviewed.
Cohen issued a statement saying “I want to thank the defendant, Ms Kelley Lynch, for insisting on a jury trial, thus exposing to the light of day her massive depletion of my retirement savings and yearly earnings, and allowing the court to observe her profoundly unwholesome, obscene and relentless strategies to escape the consequences of her wrongdoing”. He continued: “The eight year ordeal of harassment of my family, my friends, my associates, and myself was designed specifically to avoid or postpone the inevitable day of reckoning with the IRS, the day when she will be bound to account for the taxes she has neglected to pay on the stolen monies that she received and failed to report” adding “It gives me no pleasure to see my one-time friend shackled to a chair in a court of law, her considerable gifts bent to the service of darkness, deceit and revenge. I fear that her obsessive commitment to these activities as soon as Ms Lynch is released, therefore I will be grateful for whatever respite the court will allow my children, my grandchildren, my friends and associates, and myself”.