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Leonard Cohen vs Former Manager
Laurie Tuffrey , April 10th, 2012 09:40

Court case begins. Kelley Lynch seems a few teas and oranges short of a picnic

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Leonard Cohen has taken to the stand in California to testify against his former business manager, Kelley Lynch, who is charged with harassment. Lynch stands accused of sending the 77-year old singer, along with his attorneys and friends, thousands of threatening e-mails and voicemail messages.

In one voicemail, Lynch told Cohen "you are a sick man... you are a thief... you are a common thief", while in another she said the singer "needed to be taken down and shot". The voicemail messages were up to 10 minutes long and the e-mails frequently stretched over 50 pages.

Lynch started her tirade after the singer fired her in 2004. "It started with just a few now and then, but it eventually accelerated to 20 or 30 a day," Cohen said. The singer had worked with Lynch for 17 years, during which time they had a "brief" relationship.

Cohen, the first witness in the trial at the L.A. County Superior Court, said that Lynch made up rumours that he had become reliant on drugs, saying: "It's not a pleasant sensation. Ms. Lynch routinely accused me of being a drug addict and many other things. Of course I didn't like it, and I felt my reputation was being assailed."

This isn't the first time the Grand Master of Melancholia (one of 132 nicknames, including 'Durable Hipster' and 'World Heavyweight Champion Of Existential Despair', Cohen is known to have acquired) has been in court with Lynch: in 2005, he accused her of stealing millions of his dollars while he was living in the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles from 1994 to 1999. While the judge ordered Lynch to pay Cohen $9.5 million then, there is some speculation as to whether he ever received the money.

Lynch has pleaded not guilty and her defence say that all of her contact has been 'legitimate', though Cohen says that her behaviour has left him wary: "It makes me feel very conscious about my surroundings. Every time I see a car slow down, I get worried."

The case is due to resume next Monday.