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Leonard Cohen's former business manager jailed for harassment

Kelley Lynch is sentenced to 18 months for a barrage of email and voice messages to the entertainer, in violation of protective orders.

April 18, 2012|By Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times
  • Kelley Lynch was convicted on five counts of violating no-contact protective orders and two counts of repeatedly contacting Leonard Cohen with the intent to annoy or harass.
Kelley Lynch was convicted on five counts of violating no-contact protective… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

A former business manager for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Leonard Cohen was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in Los Angeles County jail for violating restraining orders and sending Cohen and others thousands of harassing email and voice mail messages.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert C. Vanderet said Kelley Lynch, 55, showed no remorse for a "long, unrelenting barrage of harassing behavior."

"No person should be subject to that kind of targeting by anyone," Vanderet said.

Prior to sentencing, Lynch was given an opportunity to make a statement, in which she remained defiant. She blamed prosecutors for carrying out a "vicious attack" on her. She said if she wasn't incarcerated she could stay away from Cohen and was "willing to go to anger management."

A jury last week found Lynch guilty on five counts of violating no-contact protective orders and two counts of repeatedly contacting Cohen with the intent to annoy or harass. All counts were misdemeanor.

During the trial, prosecutors played voice mail messages and displayed thick binders filled with email from Lynch, who had a business and personal relationship with Cohen for about 17 years.

Voice mail messages played for jurors included obscenities and sexual references, as well as accusations of tax fraud and drug use.

Cohen, 77, testified that he had fired Lynch in 2004. Shortly after, Lynch began calling and emailing him many times a day, leveling threats and saying he "needed to be taken down and shot," he said.

"I do believe that I have engaged in excessive and unauthorized rambling," Lynch told the judge Tuesday.

Lynch, who was dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit and handcuffed to a chair, also was sentenced to five years' probation. She is barred from owning, possessing or using deadly weapons, including firearms, for 10 years.

While in custody, she must undergo anger management classes, psychological training and alcohol education sessions. Upon release, she will be required to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Reading a prepared statement, Cohen said he feared Lynch would begin contacting him as soon as she is out of custody.

"It gives me no pleasure to see my onetime friend shackled to a chair in a court of law, her considerable gifts bent to the service of darkness, deceit and revenge," Cohen said.

Attorneys for Lynch argued throughout the trial that Lynch's messages contained legitimate requests for tax documents. Cohen and his attorneys, however, said Lynch has long been in possession of documents she requested.

Cohen sued Lynch in 2005, accusing her of stealing $5 million from his personal accounts and investments while he lived for several years at a Zen monastery near Los Angeles. A judge granted Cohen a default judgment in that case, ordering Lynch to pay $9.5 million.

hailey.branson@latimes.com

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