Cohen told the court he and Lynch, 55, had a business and personal relationship for about 17 years, including a “brief” intimate relationship, until he fired her in 2004, according to the Los Angeles Times.
After the split, Cohen’s voicemail and email inbox began filling up with phone calls and emails from Lynch. She is accused of sending the 77-year-old singer, his attorneys and other people he knew thousands of emails.
“It started with just a few now and then, but it eventually accelerated to 20 or 30 a day,” Cohen testified, according to the LA Times. “It makes me feel very conscious about my surroundings. Every time I see a car slow down, I get worried.”
He added, “My sense of alarm has increased over the years as the volume of emails has increased.”
Cohen explained that the emails were often 50 pages long and voice mail messages were up to 10 minutes long. He said one voice mail said he “needed to be taken down and shot.” Select 2011 voice mails from Lynch were played for jurors.
Although Cohen obtained restraining orders against Lynch in California and Colorado, Deputy City Attorney Sandra Jo Streeter said the calls and emails continued. In addition to threatening Cohen, Lynch is accused of targeting other artists and public figures in her emails.
Lynch, who is being held at Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, Calif., has pleaded not guilty. Michael Kelly, a public defender representing Lynch, said in his opening statements that the case “is very much about relationships and how relationships oftentimes get messy,” according to the LA Times. He said the emails regarded “legitimate purposes” such as questions about information for her taxes.
This isn’t the first time Cohen has taken Lynch to court. He sued her in 2005 for stealing $5 million from his personal accounts and investments while he was living at a Zen monastery. The LA Times reports that a judge granted Cohen a default judgment and Lynch was ordered to pay $9.5 million.