John Lennon’s Lawyer on the Man, the Mafia, and the Biggest Trial You’ve Never Heard About

While John Lennon retreated into private life in 1975, he also fought a major legal battle that flew under the public radar. Mafia-connected Morris Levy, owner of Roulette Records, released Roots, an unauthorized version of a rock ’n’ roll oldies album John had been producing. Levy claimed the former Beatle had verbally agreed to market Roots via TV. The quick release of John Lennon Rock ’n’ Roll, the official album, resulted in two Levy lawsuits against John—and John’s counterclaims against Levy.

The ensuing high-stakes drama—both in and out of the courtroom—spanned the better part of two years and is the subject of Lennon attorney Jay Bergen’s upcoming discussion on March 9. Drawing from stories shared in his 2022 book, Lennon, the Mobster & the Lawyer—The Untold Story, as well as archival documents and multimedia materials, Bergen will tell the intimate story of how he worked closely with John to rebut Levy’s specious claims, and what it was like getting to know the man behind the myth. Bergen will also recount how John explained his recording process in poetic, exacting terms for a judge who knew little about The Beatles or John’s solo career.

A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Tickets are $10 for members, and $15 for guests.
To purchase tickets, please click here or call 843-723-9912.

About the Book:
Lennon, the Mobster & the Lawyer catches the high drama of the courtroom skirmishes in this previously untold story. It also paints a detailed personal portrait of John and his world from 1975 to 1977, when he would soon welcome a new son and go into happy seclusion as a father and husband.

About Jay Bergen:
Jay Bergen was a trial lawyer in New York City for forty-five years. He has handled antitrust, securities, entertainment, and copyright/trademark cases. While Jay presented as a buttoned-down NYC trial lawyer, deep down he was a rock ’n’ roller from his high school days. He and John Lennon hit it off right from the day they first met, February 3, 1975. While Jay was awed to become John’s trusted advisor in the Morris Levy litigation, he was able to treat John Lennon as “just another client” – and that’s the way Jay worked with him preparing for the January 1976 trial. The two became friends and that relationship opened Jay to living his life the way he wanted to, rather than the way others wanted. Through more than 40 years and five home moves, Jay preserved the entire trial transcript, exhibits, and related documents in six bankers boxes. The legal records were an integral part of his memories and John and Jay’s friendship, and will serve alongside other contemporaneous artifacts as context for Jay’s presentation.


May 04 2023


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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The Charleston Library Society


The Charleston Library Society
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