WARNING: This article contains descriptions of sexual abuse.
Peter Nygard has denied he sexually assaulted any of the five women complainants who testified at his ongoing trial that they were attacked by the one-time Canadian fashion mogul in his private bedroom suite at his Toronto headquarters during a period spanning the late 1980s to 2005.
Nygard’s defence lawyer, Brian Greenspan, wrapped up his questions on Friday by asking his client how he could categorically deny the allegations of sexual misconduct if he couldn’t expressly recall his dealings with the women.
“The type of allegations that were said and were described is the type of conduct that I know that I have never done and never would do,” he said.
Nygard, 82, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement. Justice Robert Goldstein is presiding over the Toronto jury trial, which began in late September. The Crown’s cross-examination of Nygard is expected to begin on Tuesday.
The Crown contends that in the five cases — which involve women ranging in age from 16 to their late 20s — Nygard used his power and status to lure them to his downtown Toronto office building, located at 1 Niagara St.
Once there, Nygard often provided a tour of the building, ending in his private bedroom suite, which included a giant bed, televisions on walls and a Jacuzzi, court has heard.
It’s inside that suite, the Crown alleges — backed by each of the five women who have testified — that Nygard would attack and sexually assault them.
Nygard rejects all specific allegations of sex acts
The accused has spent three days on the witness stand rejecting all specific allegations of sex acts attributed to him. He had also told the court that he couldn’t recall four of the five complainants.
Greenspan, who had covered the testimony of two of the complainants a day earlier, spent Friday going over the testimony of the three remaining complainants.
He began with the first woman to testify who had told the court she had met Nygard at the Nassau, Bahamas, airport and chatted with him on the flight to Toronto. She said she later went out with him twice on dates, and in December 1989, on the night of the alleged attack, had gone with him to see a Rolling Stones concert at the then-Skydome.
The woman said after the concert she went to Nygard’s Toronto headquarters, ended up in his private bedroom suite, where he chased her around the room before he sexually assaulted her.
Under questioning by Greenspan, Nygard said he couldn’t recall ever meeting the woman, or going on any dates with her but did acknowledge it was possible.
Nygard doesn’t recall Rolling Stones concert
He also said he couldn’t remember going to a Rolling Stones at the Skydome or to any event held there. And he denied that any sexual misconduct would have occurred with the woman.
“Did you have vaginal sex with [the woman] after chasing her around the room and removing her clothing?” Greenspan asked Nygard.
“I would not have engaged in such conduct,” he said. “No I did not.”
The woman had testified that before she was attacked by Nygard, that he had ordered her to make him a sandwich. But Nygard disputed this, said it was “not possible” he would have asked her to do such a thing, He said he couldn’t recall having ingredients in his kitchenette for a sandwich.
Nygard also contradicted some of the woman’s other testimony. For example, he denied, as she had testified, that he drove a Mercedes and that he would have offered to give her a lift home after the concert. He said he would never drive during winter.
But Nygard also confirmed some other specific details she gave, including that he liked to play songs in his car from the Phantom of the Opera.
“Six to 10 different pieces on that soundtrack were some of the most beautiful music I ever heard,” he said, adding that he used the music for some of his fashion shows.
Greenspan also asked Nygard about the woman who told court she was 16 years old when he assaulted her.
Denies assault on woman who says she was 16
The woman told court that she had been taken to Nygard’s Toronto headquarters by a much-older man she had been seeing. When she arrived, they ended up in Nygard’s bedroom, where she was held down by both men and forced to perform sex acts while another woman was present, she testified.
Nygard told court he couldn’t recall that woman, either. He also said he would not have committed any of the graphic sexual misconduct she described.
One of the five women complainants who Nygard said he did know had testified that she had been hired by Nygard to be a hostess, including for a party at his downtown Toronto headquarters in the mid 1990s and was paid $500 in cash. She told the trial that once inside his private bedroom suite, some of the party guests started to undress, and she noticed there was pornography on two of the televisions.
Nygard denies making $500 cash payment to woman
The complainant said she was feeling uncomfortable and had a couple of drinks to calm down, but she blacked out and woke up naked on the bed with Nygard on top of her, pinning her down and assaulting her. The woman testified that the other guests had gathered around the bed to watch.
Nygard said he remembered meeting the woman at a New Year’s Eve party at his Bahamas estate, and that she spent somewhere between four to six years going there. Asked if she worked for his company in any formal capacity, he said she might have worked for the company initially as an organizer for the New Year’s party.
When asked if he hired the woman to work at a party at his Toronto headquarters that began at midnight, Nygard said: “No such event ever took place. And no such hiring ever took place. Absolutely not.”
Nygard denied ever personally hiring staff for parties at his Toronto office, and that they were hired by the events managers.
Asked about the $500 cash payment, and if he would pay anyone in cash at his Toronto office building to be a host or at one of his parties, Nygard again said “absolutely not.”
Seyyed Hafeez Hashmi, a multi-faceted individual whose diverse expertise spans the realms of journalism, literature, media, and digital innovation. With a rich tapestry of skills and accomplishments, Seyyed Hafeez Hashmi embodies the essence of a prolific author, seasoned journalist, anchor, analyst, graphics designer, social media influencer, and the visionary force behind several impactful platforms.