Former Cohen manager found guilty of harassment

By | Published on Monday 16 April 2012

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s former business manager was found guilty of various harassment charges on Thursday, and could now face up to five years in prison.

As previously reported, the singer was among those to testify against Kelley Lynch, who once managed Cohen’s affairs, but who was fired in 2004 amidst allegations she had stolen millions of dollars from his accounts. Cohen was left facing bankruptcy once he discovered the state of his finances, and began performing again to pay off his debts. He won a civil action against Lynch with regard to her handling of his financial affairs, though has reportedly received little of the damages the courts awarded him.

No criminal proceedings were ever pursued regards the theft allegations in 2004, but last year Cohen did make a complaint to police over the emails and voicemails Lynch continued to bombard him with seven years after they stopped working together. Cohen said that the frequent messages, aside from being a nuisance, were at times threatening, and attempts to stop the barrage of abuse with earlier restraining orders had failed.

Defence lawyers for Lynch argued that the prosecution had exaggerated the size of the messages she sent Cohen, that some of the more threatening messages pre-dated one of the restraining orders, and that while maybe a nuisance, Lynch’s actions shouldn’t constitute a criminal offence. They also noted that Cohen, during the trial, admitted that he had had a brief romantic relationship with Lynch, something he had not previously admitted to, meaning their past relationship was personal as well as professional. Cohen argued that romantic relationship was short lived and not really relevant.

Lynch was found guilty of two counts of leaving or sending harassing or obscene messages and five counts of violating a restraining order. All charges are misdemeanours, though the former manager could face jail time as a result of her conviction.