Back in 2005, the legendary Leonard Cohen was quietly preparing new material. Always a study in contradictions, he'd spent over five years in seclusion as a zen student on Mt. Baldy, paying scant attention to the outside world. Sadly, it came to light around this time that his longtime manager, Kelley Lynch, had been bilking his estate to the tune of $5 million, leaving the semi-reclusive ascetic with almost no money to live on and very few commercial moneymaking prospects. His lone chart hit, the oft-covered "Hallelujah", earns the singer no money; the rights actually belong to former American Idol judge Simon Cowell.
This kind of story is fairly common in the music world. Tales of once-revered artists reduced to poverty in their later years are a dime a dozen. Cohen, for his part, wouldn't dream of it. In a completely transparent effort to sock away some money for his retirement, the singer embarked on a series of rare concert tours that were, to put it mildly, well-received. He then released a couple of new records that rank, to many reviewers and fans, among the finest work he's ever done. A judge ordered his ex-manager to pay back what she'd stolen, and it seemed as if everything was back on track for Cohen.
Then the harassment started.
By all accounts, Kelley Lynch is batshit insane. After the summary judgement of $9.5 million was levied against her, she decided that the best course of action she could take was not to apologize and make amends, but to begin calling Cohen with death threats. Although transcripts of the threats aren't publicly available, the content has been confirmed as "frightening." The tone was sometimes overtly sexual and, apparently, consistently angry and maniacal. Messages played in the courtroom include assurances that Cohen's family would be "taken out back and shot."
This week, a judge sentenced her to 18 months in prison for that move. Cohen has released a very zen-like statement about the matter. While he doesn't exactly thank her for his artistic renaissance, you can be certain that he's the least angry embezzlement victim the world has ever seen.
"It is my prayer that Ms Lynch will take refuge in the wisdom of her religion," Cohen said. "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."
"It gives me no pleasure to see my one-time friend shackled to a chair in a court of law, her considerable gifts bent to the service of darkness, deceit and revenge," the statement continues. "I want to thank the defendant Ms Kelley Lynch for insisting on a jury trial, thus exposing to the light of day her massive depletion of my retirement savings and yearly earnings, and allowing the court to observe her profoundly unwholesome, obscene and relentless strategies to escape the consequences of her wrongdoing."