Leonard Cohen ex-manager/thief/lover/stalker sentenced; Cohen dry and warm throughout

The Guardian's Esther Addley reports on the trial of Kelley Lynch, his former business-manager and lover who was convicted of stealing from him and leaving him penniless, who was ordered to pay $9.5M in restitution but didn't, and who then relentlessly stalked Cohen and harassed and threatened him. Lynch has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and 5 years probation for the stalking by a California judge.

Addley's account has Cohen behaving with admirable calm and dignity in the courtroom, even as his lawyers presented the jury with 10 binders full of threatening, crazy emails from his former manager. After the sentencing, Cohen cordially thanked the judge and even wished Lynch well, expressing his desire that she would "take refuge in the wisdom of her religion, that a spirit of understanding will convert her heart from hatred to remorse, from anger to kindness, from the deadly intoxication of revenge to the lowly practices of self-reform."

Cohen's post-ripoff story is remarkable. Penniless at nearly 70, Cohen moved into a Zen Buddhist monastery in California for five years, then emerged with a fantastic new album and a record-beating tour that netted him more than the $9.5M he was owed.

Addley's account of Cohen's courtroom behavior is just fabulous, a kind of parable about karmic justice and the power of positive emotion to trump life's miseries.

"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..."

"'Cohen is going to be hung,'" the singer drily told jurors at one point, "is not agreeable to hear..."

"I want to thank the defendant Ms Kelley Lynch for insisting on a jury trial, thus... allowing the court to observe her profoundly unwholesome, obscene and relentless strategies to escape the consequences of her wrongdoing," he said.

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


    1. Despite his magnificence as a wordsmith, I think his dick is larger than life. He who dicks around eventually gets dicked. Cohen just got in the last poke… For now. Absalom

      1. I can’t tell if you’re trying to upbraid Cohen for his past or if you’re just really fixated on his pecker. Either way, you should probably just keep it to yourself.

          1. “”Hung” would appear to refer to the body part in the above comments. ”

            Sorry, are you really trying to argue grammar with a Leord Cohen song?

  1. I would be SO unable to maintain his level of calm. Maybe that’s what five years in a Buddhist monastery produces.

    1. I think you can train yourself to, if you really wanted to.  Seriously, life is too short to be fucking around with all the stress, harboring resentments, fuelling and perpetuating the anger and outrage.  Not that Cohen is a saint; he’s just a guy.  But a peaceful heart is available to all of us, all you have to do is look inside a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

    1.  Not very much, and when you start off with a much bigger sum of money, you have potential liabilities that could put you very deep in the hole. The Canadian version of the IRS, for example, could have come along, done an audit, decided Cohen hadn’t paid his fair share, and left him six or seven figures in the red. (That’s pretty much exactly what happened to Willie Nelson.)

    1. Oh my goodness.

      What is most depressing about that is not one, but (at least) two of the participants are clearly suffering from mental illness. And they’re either enabling each other, or are in fact the same person arguing amongst themselves.

    2. “I am not playing the victim.”

      Oddly enough, we don’t often hear actual victims of crime say this sort of thing …

  2. To clarify: he didn’t go to the monastery AFTER the rip off, he was there while he was getting ripped off.

    And the Billboard numbers are nonsense. A. they’re made up. and B. they represent the total gross, not what he got…

  3. I’m perversely grateful for the whole thing — I saw Leonard Cohen in concert as part of the tour he ended up doing because of this, and it was quite magical. I hadn’t seen him in concert before, and wouldn’t have had the chance if not for the mendacity of that business manager.

    It’s a funny old world, innit?

  4. Let’s assume that those quotes are representative of the whole tenor of Cohen’s testimony. In that case, yes, he’s being exquisitely polite here, which is very, very different from being nice. I’d bet that all that “positive emotion” and karmic cool can be measured in months added on to the defendant’s sentence. And I’d double down that Cohen knew exactly what he was doing. He’s no dummy, he’s been around the block, and he’s a professional entertainer.

    Not that I blame him for an instant! I’d twist the knife too, if I were him. But I wouldn’t do nearly so good a job.

    1. There’s really is more to Mr Cohen than “exquisite politeness” and showmanship.

      When he comes out with new album, Mr Cohen sets aside a full day or two for publicity and interviews.  It’s said that by the evening, after doing a marathon of interviews since early morning, he’s is still as fresh, sharp and good-natured as in the early morning, and this in his mid-seventies.  Which leads me to suspect that this man knows something, or better put, understands things, that you and I don’t.

      1. “Anger and frustration are things we do to ourselves.” As are press junkets. The first bit is roughly a Buddha quote.

        To end that kind of suffering we simply have to choose between feeling happy, and feeling entitled to not feel happy.  We are free to do either.

        While the second is appealing, the first is more enjoyable.

        Or something like that.

  5. take refuge in the wisdom of her religion, that a spirit of understanding will convert her heart from hatred to remorse, from anger to kindness, from the deadly intoxication of revenge to the lowly practices of self-reform.

    And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how one does that. Good grace that cuts to the bone.

Comments are closed.