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82-year-old fashion designer faces 6 charges of sexual assault and false imprisonment in Toronto.

Peter Nygard says it was easy to get out of his suite

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Peter Nygard's defense accuses the Crown of trying to make the jury believe that his client is a sexual predator who operated in a secret room from his Toronto fashion studio.

  • Jean-Philippe Nadeau (View profile)Jean-Philippe Nadeau

In Toronto, on the first day of his testimony, Peter Nygard asserts at the bar of his trial that it was easy to leave the private suite of his Toronto studio contrary to what his accusers maintain. The 82-year-old Canadian fashion designer is accused of assaulting five women, including a minor, from 1986 to 2005, in the former headquarters of his defunct company in the metropolis.

The complainants allege they were assaulted in Peter Nygard's private suite on the fifth and top floor of his fashion studio on Niagara Street in downtown Toronto.

One ​​of them even compared the room to a sordid sex dungeon. Others had said that the doors without handles were hidden behind a wall and that they were accessed using a code or a push button, so that they were trapped there.

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Peter Nygard, who faces 6 sexual charges, began his testimony on the stand in his trial on October 25, 2023.

Defense lawyer Brian Greenspan had already explained in his plea on Tuesday that what followed was not a landmark, but that it was 27 ;a room which at the time reflected the Finnish origins of his client.

Supporting sketches, Peter Nygard explains to the jury that the suite actually had four exit doors not counting the emergency exit and that one could enter it through its adjacent office, the toilet, the reception and a business lounge Berlin.

He recognizes, however, that the doors did not all open in the same way.

For example, the reception door was hidden behind a mirror and had no handle on the outside. It opened easily thanks to a code at the secretary's office.

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Defense attorney Brian Greenspan questions his client on the stand in the trial before a jury of 7 men and 7 women.

The same door, however, was equipped with a handle in the shape of a root or branch at the side. interior and it could also be opened using a button near the bedside table in the bedroom.

All the toilet doors which opened onto the public space on the floor or onto the bedroom, however, had handles.

Peter Nygard does not remember, however, whether the door leading to the Berlin living room was horizontal and with slides and whether it disappeared into the wall as Me Greenspan suggests.

The emergency exit was located near the toilet, which had two doors. It was not an open circular mouth on the floor near the bed without a cover or barrier, as Complainant No. 5 had claimed.

It's ridiculous, a hole in the floor, replies Peter Nygard to his lawyer.

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Peter Nygard admitted that he has been experiencing memory lapses and vision and hearing problems for 4 years.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Peter Nygard also explains that the doors had to be secure for his personal safety and to demarcate the public space of the 5th floor from the private area of ​​his apartments when he renovated the building in 1987 after the #x27;having purchased three years earlier.

He remembers the code to access his reception suite as being an easy code to remember, i.e. 1234.

He adds that there wasn't really a security guard on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but rather a night watchman and that the janitors always cleaned at night, so that the building was never deserted.

The fashion workshop was busy at all times, even in the evening, when potential buyers came to Toronto to see my collections in the showrooms, he said with pride.

Peter Nygard, however, claims that he only spent two and a half months a year in Toronto, because he was always traveling on business or at his residences in Los Angeles or the Bahamas.

Just before lunch, Peter Nygard's defense led him to talk about his property in the Bahamas, which he had acquired to benefit from the sale of his property. tax benefits in the early 1970s at the suggestion of his mentor, Nathan Jacobs.

Since I traveled often for work, I decided to buy a property in the archipelago, he said, adding that he wanted to become a permanent resident of the Bahamas, a status that he obtained at the end of the 1970s.

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Peter Nygard, as prosecutor Neville Golwalla seated left, looked on passionately when discussing his business successes.

Peter Nygard emphasizes #x27;he did have employees in the Bahamas, but they took care of his residence.

On the other hand, there were very few from the fashion world, since he worked remotely with his companies in Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto and Los Angeles.

Sometimes we organized fashion shows on the island for charity, but that's it, continues- he added that he lived in the Caribbean 6 to 7 months a year at the time.

Mr. Greenspan took the opportunity to remind him of one of the allegations made by a complainant, who stated in her testimony that the Nygard's Key residence was used to organize parties and in particular orgies.< /p>

It's crazy to say things like that, Peter Nygard replied to his lawyer.

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Lawyer Brian Greenspan plans to question his client for at least two days.

He explains that his island has never had a cave for getaways sexual and that what we call caves were in fact part of the design of the various bungalows that he had built over the years around his sumptuous villa.

There was a sauna like in Finland with very cold water to cool off, he said.

He said that his retired parents came to stay in the archipelago during the winter and spent time at his cottage on Falcon Lake, Manitoba, during the summer.

Earlier in the morning, Peter Nygard said he was born in 1941 in Finland and his parents immigrated to Canada after the war, settling in Manitoba.

He noted that his family had lived in poverty in a house without running water or electricity.

Peter Nygard claimed that he had several jobs as a teenager, first as a newspaper clerk, then as an assistant in a textile factory, where he wore a first interest in fashion.

He said he got a job as a substitute managing a first department store in Winnipeg before joining the university in the state of North Dakota.

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Peter Nygard appeared frail and tired at the end of his first day of testimony in his trial.

He said he had then was hired in Nathan Jacob's clothing company, of which he would become the main shareholder upon the death of his mentor.

Nathan only had daughters, I became the son he didn't have, he remembers, his voice quavering.

Peter Nygard explains that the company will adopt the name TanJay, then that of Nygard International upon the birth of his first child in 1977.

His lawyer, however, had to remind him of the date of birth of his daughter Bianca after his client's long hesitation.

I don't recommend getting old to anyone, he added. He specified that his first two collections were named after his daughters Bianca and Elia.

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Lawyer Brian Greenspan was interrupted by the Crown who asked him to shorten his questioning to quickly come to the facts with which his client is accused.

Peter Nygard added that he was a workaholic and that he built a ladies' clothing empire by opening factories in Montreal, then in Toronto. Design was my whole life, he continues.

He explained how he took over Nathan Jacob's company by adding other production locations to his Winnipeg business first in Montreal in the 1970s and then in Toronto in the 1980s. /p>

He said his company had tailoring workshops in Japan and Hong Kong and that he was eyeing the American market.

He clarified that he preferred to settle in California rather than New York, even though the American metropolis was the leading place for textile production in the United States at the time. /p>

The octogenarian explained that work and a healthy lifestyle are the secret to his success. I only worked, I didn't do drugs, I didn't drink and I took care of my body, he emphasizes.

He admitted that he tried to instill the same healthy lifestyle in his managers. We became the first tobacco-free company in the world, then sugar-free, he said proudly.

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Peter Nygard, his lawyers and prosecutor Ana Serban at the lectern before Justice Goldstein, of the Ontario Superior Court, during the Crown's closing arguments at the opening of the trial.

He confirmed what complainant number 3 had said about this. Yes, I gave $10,000 to my employees and friends to quit smoking, he admitted, saying that they had to give him the money if they started smoking again.

On the private side, Peter Nygard admitted that he married at age 28, in 1969, but that his marriage lasted only three years and that he never did not have children from his wife.

I was married to my business and it broke my heart to see my wife waiting for me every night for me to come home from work, he explained.

He readily admitted having subsequently mixed with women and having had several relationships. I'm human after all, he said with a smile.

  • Jean-Philippe Nadeau (View profile)Jean-Philippe NadeauFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116