In a significant legal development, Peter Nygard, the founder of one of Canada’s prominent fashion brands, was declared guilty on Sunday of four counts of sexual assault, according to a Toronto court. The 82-year-old Finnish-Canadian fashion magnate faced charges related to incidents spanning from 1988 to 2005, involving four women and a 16-year-old girl.
The jury, after deliberating for five days, acquitted Nygard of one sexual assault charge and a charge of forcible confinement. The verdict marks the culmination of a seven-week trial that addressed the first in a series of sexual assault allegations spanning decades in both Canada and the United States.
As Nygard exited the courtroom, his lawyer, Brian Greenspan, did not rule out the possibility of appealing the verdict. During the defense’s closing arguments, Greenspan criticized the prosecution’s interpretation of the alleged acts, describing the case as built on “contradictions and insinuations.” He also suggested that the accusations were motivated by financial gain.
Prosecutor Ana Serban countered by highlighting the consistency in the testimonies of the five accusers, emphasizing “remarkably similar accounts” of how they met Nygard, were invited to his office building, and experienced sexual assaults in his bedroom.
Nygard has been in custody since his arrest in 2020. He now faces similar charges in the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, as well as extradition requests from the United States, where he is accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women and teenagers, along with charges of extortion and human trafficking. The verdict in Toronto sets the stage for Nygard’s legal battles in multiple jurisdictions, signaling a significant downfall for the once-prominent figure in the fashion industry.