Disgraced fashion designer Peter Nygard faces trial in Toronto | ET REALITY

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Canadian prosecutors will begin making their case Tuesday in a Toronto court against Peter Nygard, the founder of a fashion empire, two years after Canadian police charged him with sex crimes.

Nygard, 82, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement involving five women. The charges were reduced from 11 to six counts.

A jury at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in downtown Toronto will hear how prosecutors believe Nygard abused the women, whose identities are hidden by publication bans imposed by the court to protect victims of sexual assault.

The period of the allegations extends from 1987 to 2005, authorities said. Nygard was charged in October 2021. Nygard has denied the allegations through statements by his attorneys to the media.

Mr. Nygard was once one of the most notable names in the fashion world, owning luxury homes, a private jet and hosting parties after the Academy Award ceremony before his business and reputation fell apart. collapsed in the face of mounting accusations that he was using their wealth. and fame to abuse multiple women.

The case in Toronto is the first in which Nygard is tried for the numerous sexual assault allegations he faces.

In December 2020, federal prosecutors in Manhattan, where Nygard’s company had offices and a store near Times Square, charged him with sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and other crimes in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas.

The nine-count indictment accuses Mr. Nygard of wielding his company’s influence and finances for 25 years to recruit “underage female victims” and adults who were sometimes assaulted or drugged by his associates “to ensure their compliance.” of Nygard’s sexual demands.

Nygard was arrested at his home in Winnipeg, the capital of the province of Manitoba, where he founded Nygard International, his fashion company, more than five decades ago. His arrest came at the request of the United States under an extradition treaty.

A Canadian judge denied his bail in February 2021. Nine months later, Toronto police charged him.

In March 2022, David Lametti, Canada’s justice minister at the time, ordered Mr. Nygard’s extradition, “but only after the current criminal charges in Canada have been addressed,” he said in a statement. statement posted on X, the social networking site formerly known as Twitter.

Nygard appealed his extradition order, citing health problems. He has complained of weight loss, fainting and illness from prison food.

In Winnipeg, the city’s police service brought criminal charges of sexual assault and unlawful confinement against Nygard in July. It came three years after they began investigating allegations that he sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman in 1993 at the company’s headquarters in Winnipeg.

Nygard is also scheduled to stand trial in Montreal next June on one count of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement.

Nygard used his company’s resources, from its money to its employees, to target victims who sometimes came from disadvantaged economic backgrounds or had a history of abuse, US prosecutors said in the indictment in New York.

Before the criminal charges, Nygard also used his wealth and threats to quell sexual abuse allegations brought against him in civil lawsuits spanning four decades, according to a Times investigation.

The image he cultivated as a jet-setting playboy millionaire who was often in the company of an entourage of women began to crumble in the wake of lawsuits brought by a neighbor in the Bahamas, Louis Bacon, a hedge fund billionaire who feuded with Mr. Nygard for about two decades.

In a lawsuit, Bacon accused Nygard of raping teenagers in the Bahamas.

What began as a neighborhood dispute between wealthy men “escalated into an all-out effort by Nygard to destroy Bacon,” a New York state judge wrote in a ruling in a defamation case in May, awarding $203 million. dollars in damages to Mr. Bacon.

Nygard falsely claimed that Bacon had engaged in insider trading and was a member of a white supremacist group, among other accusations, and spent $15 million of his own money “to spread malicious falsehoods,” the judge wrote.

Mr. Nygard appealed the judge’s decision.

Susan Beachy contributed to the research. Mathew Silver contributed reporting from Toronto.

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