Peter Nygard, the former public face of the Nygard International clothing brand empire, was found guilty on four counts of sexual assault on Sunday by a Toronto jury, The New York Times reports. He was found not guilty on one count of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement.
The verdict is the first criminal conviction for Nygard, 82, who has been in jail for the last two years and is expected to stand trial on charges of sex crimes in Montreal in June 2024, and also in Winnipeg, though a trial date has not yet been established.
He also faces charges in the U.S. where he will be extradited following Canadian proceedings. He was indicted on U.S. federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges in December 2020 following him being accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting 10 women. The nine counts include “racketeering, sex trafficking, and related crimes arising out of a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas, and Canada, among other locations.” In February 2020, he stepped down as chairman of his firm, Nygard International. The following month, the organization filed for bankruptcy after U.S. authorities raided its New York headquarters.
Nygard has appealed the New York extradition in his hometown of Winnipeg citing poor health, but the court has not made a decision regarding his appeal.
During the trial, five women testified they were lured by Nygard to a personal bedroom suite in his company’s Toronto headquarters where they said they were sexually assaulted. The women, one of whom was a former employee and four of whom are involved in a class action suit against Nygard, were between the ages of 16 and 28 at the time of the attacks that they accused him of committing between the 1980s and 2005. Nygard, who denied the accusations when he testified in his defense during the trial, said he did not remember meeting four of the accusers, but acknowledged recognizing his former employee. The Toronto jury deliberated for three days after the end of the six-week trial.
In addition to the U.S. civil trial for the class action suit involving four of the women at center in the Toronto trial and facing charges in the U.S. federal indictment following his criminal cases in Canada, Nygard was also ordered by a New York State judge to pay $203 million in defamation suit damages to Louis Bacon, a hedge fund billionaire and neighbor of Nygard’s in the Bahamas following two decades of legal battles between them.