Saturday, April 21, 2012

Leonard Cohen's poetic thanks as former manager and lover is jailed for harassment

Singer Leonard Cohen tells of 'relentless' strategy of woman he had fired over lost earnings
Leonard Cohen
A Los Angeles jury convicted Leonard Cohen's former business manager Kelley Lynch of harassing the singer-songwriter. Photograph: Kai-Uwe Knoth/AP

As befits a man regarded as perhaps the most lyrical voice in contemporary popular music, the witness statement read to a Los Angeles court by Leonard Cohen was unusually poetic in its phrasing.
"I want to thank the court, in the person of your honour," Cohen told an LA county superior court judge, "for the cordial, even-handed and elegant manner in which these proceedings have unfolded. It was a privilege and an education to testify in this courtroom."
However dignified his prose and the proceedings, Cohen's testimony marked the end of a long and decidedly ugly episode in the 77-year-old singer's life, which has culminated in the jailing of his former manager for harassment.
Kelley Lynch, 55, was sentenced to 18 months in a Californian prison and five years probation for what the sentencing judge, Robert C Vanderet, called a "long, unrelenting barrage of harassing behaviour" towards Cohen, that the singer said had made him fear for his life.
Lynch, a jury had been told, had targeted Cohen with thousands of long, abusive voicemails and rambling emails that could run to 50 pages, denouncing him as a "sick man" and "common thief", and suggesting that he "needed to be taken down and shot".
"'Cohen is going to be hung,'" the singer drily told jurors at one point, "is not agreeable to hear."
The case was given added piquancy through the long and, recently, dramatic history between the Canadian singer and his harasser. Cohen sued Lynch in 2005, a year after he had dismissed her as his manager, claiming she had stolen $5m (£3.1m) from his personal accounts and investments and left him virtually penniless. The court found in his favour and ordered Lynch to pay him $9.5m, but her lawyers claimed she was unreachable, and she has never repaid the money or faced criminal charges.
The theft prompted the hard-up Cohen to begin touring again after five years in a Zen Buddhist monastery in California. Marathon tours of Europe, north America and Australasia met with ecstatic reviews and were enormously popular, going no small distance to repair the hole in his retirement fund. Billboard magazine reported that the 2009 world tour alone had earned Cohen $9.5m

More at The Guardian.

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