Former fashion executive Peter Nygard testifies at sexual assault trial | ET REALITY

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Peter Nygard, the former fashion executive behind a now-defunct Canadian clothing brand, took the stand in a Toronto court on Wednesday to counter what his lawyer called the “revisionist history” presented by five women who accused him of sexual assault. .

Jurors will hear evidence that amounts to a “clear, unequivocal and emphatic denial” of the five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement brought against Nygard, his attorney, Brian Greenspan, said Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors – with “certain dramatic flourishes,” Greenspan added – attempted to frame Nygard’s lifestyle in accordance with their theory that he was “a sexual predator, a selfish megalomaniac in what has been misrepresented as his secret, hidden cave.” .

The five women described from the witness stand how they ended up in a hidden bedroom in their Toronto office building, where they said Mr. Nygard sexually assaulted them.

But Greenspan said the defense’s evidence “would make the revisionist history plaintiffs have provided inaccurate, unreliable and untrustworthy.”

He told the jury that Mr. Nygard had waived his right to remain silent to testify in his own defense.

The first part of his testimony Wednesday morning, which was expected to continue into the afternoon, did not address the allegations but offered a biographical overview of his life and career. At 82, his distinctive flowing hair was white and he was tied up in a large low bun, with a pair of orange glasses perched on his nose.

Nygard’s family left Finland in 1952 to escape the threat of a Russian invasion during the Korean War and lived in poverty for years in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Nygard said, describing her somewhat meteoric rise in the fashion world through of hard work, as well as some luck.

“Out of necessity, we had to work to survive,” Nygard said, recalling her work in a textile factory under difficult conditions, where her mother worked as a sewing machine operator. “The only way to have this kind of success is if you simply work harder than the next guy,” she later added.

His company, which he founded in 1967, grew to 2,000 employees, competing with companies like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, he said, popularizing a type of polyester that made him known as the “king of polyester” and made him a celebrity in the world. fashion world.

Nygard said he liked to be involved in the minor details of his company’s operations, including approving the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack for fashion shows and designing in-store merchandise displays.

Nygard also said his company offered a wide range of benefits, including dormitories in its offices and warehouses for employees who needed to rest.

The Toronto office bedroom was “affectionately known as the Finland Suite,” said its lawyer, Mr. Greenspan, and was a feature of the building that the company shared in its promotional ads.

Mr. Nygard appeared calm on the stand and even laughed at times. He blamed his inability to remember certain details on “short-term memory loss.”

His obsession with his career took its toll on his first and only marriage, which ended in 1972, after three years. He never remarried, she said, but, when questioned by his lawyer, he said he had relationships with other women.

“Of course, of course, I’m a human being,” he said, placing his hands on his chest.

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