Cohen Wins Court Ruling

One of Canada’s most beloved artists had his day in court today – and won.

A jury in a New York City sided with poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen today in a case against his former business manager, Kelley Lynch, accused of disobeying a court ruling that forbid her from contacting him.

According to the Associated Press, Deputy City Attorney Sandra Jo Streeter described Cohen’s life as “a complete and utter living hell” during the time Lynch repeatedly threatened him via telephone and email messages between February 2011 and January 2012.

“It makes me feel very conscious about my surroundings. Every time I see a car slow down, I get worried,” the Los Angeles Times quoted the 77-year-old as saying. “My sense of alarm has increased over the years as the volume of emails has increased.”

The messages were hate-filled and obscene, the court heard, with the 55-year-old Lynch accusing Cohen of drug use, tax fraud and other offences.

Cohen and Lynch maintained a long friendship and business relationship until 2004, when the singer began to suspect her of stealing millions from his personal accounts. Cohen fired Lynch as his business manager and launched a lawsuit, which Lynch lost and was ordered to pay Cohen more than $9 million.

Defence lawyers attempted to paint Lynch as an underdog against a much-loved celebrity as well as a woman who was acting out of grief following the collapse of her career and personal life, noting she’d never once tried to physically harm Cohen.

“Her cries for help and these emails, these were not criminal conduct,” Lynch’s attorney Nikhil Ramnaney said.

Ultimately, the jury disagreed and after three days of testimony found Lynch guilty of seven misdemeanor charges: five counts of violating a restraining order and two counts of leaving or sending harassing or obscene messages. The guilty verdict carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

-Mike Crisolago