LOS ANGELES (AP) - A jury convicted Leonard Cohen’s former business manager Thursday of harassing the singer-songwriter and repeatedly violating a court order to stop contacting him.
The Canadian-born singer testified against Lynch for portions of three days, saying she had sent hundreds of emails and voicemails since he cut ties with her in 2004.
The case focused on messages left between February 2011 and January of this year.
“’Cohen is going to be hung’ is not agreeable to hear,” the singer told jurors Tuesday.
The panel heard dozens of expletive-filled messages Lynch left for Cohen, 77, some of which described him as her enemy. Deputy City Attorney Sandra Jo Streeter stacked several binders containing the emails on a table in front of the jury during closing arguments.
Lynch could face up to five years in jail after being convicted of two counts of leaving or sending harassing or obscene messages and five counts of violating a restraining order, Streeter said. All the charges were misdemeanors.
“She made his life a complete and utter living hell,” Streeter told jurors in closing arguments. Many of the messages accused the “I’m Your Man” and “Hallelujah” singer of tax evasion, perjury and drug abuse.
Lynch’s attorneys made an issue during the trial of Cohen’s acknowledgement that he’d had a sexual relationship with his former business manager but hadn’t disclosed it during a pretrial hearing. He described it as a “brief intimate relationship” but said it wasn’t romantic, and said he stopped considering her a friend after learning millions of dollars had disappeared while she was his manager.
Defense attorney Nikhil Ramnaney argued most of the emails were short, but the prosecutor had printed out multiple versions to make them appear more voluminous. He also argued that some of the more disturbing messages left by Lynch came before February 2011, when Cohen’s attorney informed her that a permanent restraining order in Colorado was being registered in California.
Ramnaney did not return a voicemail message seeking comment on the verdict later Thursday.
Cohen said he alerted authorities and pursued a case against her because he felt he was in danger.
“I was not willing to take the risk, the risk that someone who leaves me messages that are deranged and violent is not going to turn up outside my house,” he testified.View Entire Story
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