Peter Nygard Former Fashion Mogul Convicted of Sexual Assault

So, another monster is removed from circulation and will join Harvey Weinstein, and the rest of the #MeToo crowd cooling their heels in some prison. This Nygard beast used his “business mogul” status and wealth to lure young women into his lair and rape them.

Now at 82 years old, his business mogul days and access to potential victims are over & done and he will most likely have a long time, if not the duration behind bars to contemplate the suffering he caused.

The question I wonder about is, what made him think he was safe to do those things? Whatever he thought, he was not safe! Nobody is.

While a life of good thoughts, words and actions invariably leads to a sweet ending, Peter’s will be harsh! Why?  Because “What Goes Around Comes Around,” sure as night follows day and the tides rise and fall. It is “The Law of Cause & Effect” in action! It is Karma! It is real!

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Peter Nygard, Former Fashion Mogul, Convicted of Sexual Assault

The verdict in Toronto concludes the first of Mr. Nygard’s criminal trials in Canada. The 82-year-old also faces charges in the United States.

Reporting from a downtown Toronto courthouse

A Toronto jury on Sunday found Peter Nygard, the high-profile executive behind a fallen fashion empire, guilty of four counts of sexual assault after just over three days of deliberation at the end of a six-week trial.

He was found not guilty of one count of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement. His sentencing date will be set later this month. The maximum prison sentence for sexual assault in Canada is 10 years.

The verdict represents the first criminal conviction against Mr. Nygard, 82, who has been in jail for the last two years. He is also expected to stand trial on charges of sex crimes next June in Montreal, and in Winnipeg, where a trial date has not been set.

At the conclusion of the Canadian proceedings, Mr. Nygard will be extradited to New York to face sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and other charges in a nine-count indictment. Mr. Nygard appealed the New York extradition ruling in Winnipeg — his hometown and the former base of Nygard International, his clothing company — citing poor health, but the court has not yet issued its decision.

In Toronto, the jury delivered its verdict to a full courtroom. Seated in a front-row bench was one of Mr. Nygard’s sons, Kai Bickle, who said outside the courthouse that he had renounced his father’s last name and had participated in the investigation against him.

“It’s not a good brand association to be the son of a monster,” said Mr. Bickle. “I lost everything. I walked away from an inheritance to do the right thing.”

“I loved my father,” he added. “It hurts me to see all these things.”

Five women, whose testimony made up the bulk of the prosecution’s evidence in the Toronto trial, testified that they were lured by Mr. Nygard to a personal bedroom suite in his Toronto headquarters under false pretenses, such as receiving a building tour, and sexually assaulted. The complainants were between the ages of 16 and 28 during the attacks, which they accused Mr. Nygard of committing between the 1980s and 2005. Their names are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

“It’s something that has tainted my life,” said one complainant, now in her 60s, who first accused Mr. Nygard in 1998 of raping her nearly a decade earlier. She dropped her complaint to Toronto police soon after, fearing reprisal from the fashion mogul after she learned that his chief security officer flew to Toronto to canvass for information about her identity, she said.

Another woman, a former employee, broke into tears while testifying that Mr. Nygard had sexually assaulted her during a party at the Toronto office, where he had hired her to work as a hostess.

“I don’t know why somebody would hire me and just do that to me,” she said, adding that she did not tell anyone what had happened. “He’s so wealthy and so powerful, who would believe me?”

Mr. Nygard was acquitted in relation to her sexual assault charge.

The women were not in the courtroom, but Shannon Moroney, a therapist representing them and other women in a class action against Mr. Nygard, called some of them from outside the courthouse with the verdict.

“It’s always so many different emotions,” Ms. Moroney said after relaying the news. “It’s relief. It’s victory. It’s joy. It’s pain. It’s disappointment. This is a battle won in a much bigger war.”

A clothing store with displays of mannequins in the window and racks of clothing. In the background, on a wall, is a large black-and-white photo of Peter Nygard.
A picture of Mr. Nygard displayed in one of his stores in New York in 2019.Credit…Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times
Lawyers for the prosecution and the defense spent much of their time mining the memories of the people on the stand, including Mr. Nygard, who testified in his own defense for about a week.

He persistently denied the accusations and said that he did not remember ever meeting four of the complainants, but said that he recognized his former employee. Mr. Nygard’s testimony was marked by frequent bouts of what he called “short-term memory loss,” though prosecutors questioned his ability to remember, in great detail, other facts.

Where his memory failed him, Mr. Nygard told jurors that the sexual assaults and rapes described by the women were not in his character.

“My position is that I would not have conducted myself in that kind of manner,” Mr. Nygard said, responding to the prosecutors’ assertions that he had sought out contact information from some complainants and offered to help their careers.

“I would not have been taking numbers from some female who was trying to be approaching me,” Mr. Nygard said. “This is a suicidal kind of thing in front of the media, and that’s a total no-no.”

Ana Serban, a prosecutor, characterized Mr. Nygard’s testimony as evasive, inconsistent and wrong.

“His memory was unreliable as well as selective,” Ms. Serban said in her closing argument to the jury. “You should have no difficulty rejecting his blanket denials.”

Records that would have assisted Mr. Nygard’s rebuttals, he said, had burned in “a mysterious fire” at a former warehouse in Winnipeg about 10 days before his arrest in October 2021. The building was put in receivership by a court after his company filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

“The only thing that was lost was the paper records that the receiver had put into this shed under their control,” Mr. Nygard said, adding that a hacking incident that year had compromised his electronic records as well. But he insisted that he tried to help the police investigation by participating in an 11-hour interview with a Toronto detective.


Brian Greenspan, Mr. Nygard’s lawyer, center, in Toronto, Canada, in September.
Credit…Cole Burston/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The guilty verdict comes after Brian Greenspan, a lawyer for the defense, urged the jury during closing arguments on Tuesday to reject the “revisionist histories of events” told by the five women and the prosecution’s narrative of Mr. Nygard’s “Jekyll and Hyde personality.”

Four of the women are involved in a class action against Mr. Nygard in the United States, a point raised by the defense during cross-examination to suggest that the women were fabricating their stories for a shot at financial gain. “Gold digging runs deep,” Mr. Greenspan said of one complainant’s testimony.

The civil action is yet another legal battlefront for Mr. Nygard. In May, he was ordered by a New York State judge to pay $203 million in defamation suit damages to Louis Bacon, a hedge fund billionaire whose feud with Mr. Nygard began over a property dispute in the Bahamas and spiraled into two decades of legal sparring.

Mr. Nygard attributed the stamina he kept throughout his high-octane way of life — glamorous parties, trips around the world in his private plane, being in the company of dignitaries — to his obsession with health. He told jurors that he avoided sugary and starchy food, didn’t take drugs or smoke, and maintained an active lifestyle that left him flush with energy despite often working 18-hour days.

Mr. Nygard wore a black suit and orange-tinted glasses, and his signature long hair was in a low bun for the duration of the trial. He was visibly relaxed for most of his testimony, sometimes laughing at his own remarks, and spoke with confidence about his effort to learn one new word per day.

But he said he didn’t know the word “Cognac,” the type of brandy that the youngest victim testified Mr. Nygard served to her before he raped her when she was 16.

“I certainly would not want to learn a liquor word,” Mr. Nygard said during his cross-examination.

In her closing argument, Ms. Serban, the prosecutor, cited the exchange as an example of why the jury should not rely on Mr. Nygard’s testimony.

“Here’s a man who enjoys the finer things in life,” she said. “Someone with a taste for luxury. He wants to give his guests the best experience, and he will have you believe that he doesn’t know the word ‘Cognac’?”

Vjosa Isai reports for The Times from Toronto. More about Vjosa Isai

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Peter Nygard Former Fashion Mogul Convicted of Sexual Assault

Peter Nygard Former Fashion Mogul Convicted of Sexual Assault

…And here is a genuine story about how even minimal effort to bring comfort to another human can result in outsized and wonderful results. How different the world might seem to many if that kind of true effort actually ran wild! It is a thought worth considering. It is also a siren call to each of us!

New research shows small gestures matter even more than we may think.

I wonder about when this train actually went off the rail and Balwani and Holmes both knew it. It reminds me somewhat of Bernie Madoff’s $20 Billion deception in that if Bernie had fessed up when his performance first went south and he tried to cover it up, only to make it worse, he might largely have been forgiven and returned to his original trading business. But he just couldn’t do that and as time went on…well we know the result.

Was there a similar trajectory for this pair? A time when they looked at each other and said, “Uh oh!” Not that it matters really. Somewhere along the way they knew what was going down and kept it going for as long as they could. Now have to face the music as eventually, always is the case. It is simply “The Law of Cause and Effect” unfolding. Hopefully for them there will be less tragic endings than Bernie. It depends on how they handle what they have wrought! We’ll see.