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The lawyers representing the women accusing Peter Nygard of rape and sexual misconduct are seeking to amend their class-action lawsuit against the Winnipeg fashion mogul to include additional complainants and allegations of destruction of evidence.
The plaintiffs in the case filed a motion in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Monday, requesting a conference to discuss the latest developments in the ongoing saga involving Nygard and his 46 accusers.
Nygard, through his employees, is alleged to have destroyed more than 10,000 electronic files, some of which could be used to prosecute the case against him.
The allegations have not been proven in court. Nygard, 78, has repeatedly maintained his innocence.
"Despite their duty to preserve all evidence as early as February 2019, the plaintiffs received several tips… from former employees, who had direct knowledge that Nygard executives ordered employees to destroy computer files and ‘clean up’ records," the motion alleges.
In addition to the charges of evidence destruction, the lawyers handling the class-action case say new accusers have stepped forward who wish to join the lawsuit. At the time of publication, 46 women have publicly accused Nygard of various forms of sexual misconduct.
The plaintiffs are requesting the issues be heard on an expedited basis due to the "defendants’ well-documented history of litigation misconduct and disrespect of the judicial system."
Jay Prober, one of Nygard’s lawyers, told the Free Press his client denies both the sexual misconduct accusations and the suggestion his companies destroyed evidence.
"My information is that no evidence was ordered to be destroyed or has been destroyed. That allegation is categorically rejected by Nygard and his executives," Prober said.
"I have no idea where they’re getting that from. But my understanding is the information that’s been provided is not accurate at all."
Prober said the plaintiffs are requesting a second amended complaint, in part, to clear up the "confusion and lack of detail" in the "first two complaints," which have made it difficult for Nygard to properly defend himself.
"You think they could get it straight the first time. Or if not the first time, the second time. Now, we’re on a third attempt to get these things figured out," Prober said.
Nygard has been ensnared by mounting rape allegations since a class-action lawsuit was filed against him in a New York court Feb. 13.
At the time, 10 women—many under the age of 18 when the offences are alleged to have occurred—claimed he drugged, raped and sodomized them. Dozens of women have since signed onto the class-action lawsuit.
On Feb. 25, special agents with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the New York Police Department raided Nygard’s international headquarters in Times Square. Later that day, his California residence was also raided by law enforcement.
It was later revealed Nygard has been the subject of a months-long criminal probe by a joint child-exploitation task force headed up by the FBI and the NYPD. No criminal charges have been filed.
Speaking through his attorneys and spokesmen, Nygard has repeatedly maintained his innocence, claiming he is at the centre of an elaborate conspiracy — orchestrated by his rival Louis Bacon, a U.S. hedge fund billionaire — aimed at destroying his reputation.
Nygard and Bacon have been engaged in a long-standing, highly public feud which has spawned more than two dozen lawsuits and various accusations of criminality.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.
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