October 23, 2020

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Nygard lawsuit climbs to 57 accusers

The number of women who have stepped forward to publicly accuse Peter Nygard of rape and sexual misconduct has risen to 57, according to the latest version of the U.S. class-action lawsuit filed against the Winnipeg fashion mogul. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The number of women who have stepped forward to publicly accuse Peter Nygard of rape and sexual misconduct has risen to 57, according to the latest version of the U.S. class-action lawsuit filed against the Winnipeg fashion mogul. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The number of women who have stepped forward to publicly accuse Peter Nygard of rape and sexual misconduct has risen to 57, according to the latest version of the U.S. class-action lawsuit filed against the Winnipeg fashion mogul.

The lawyers representing the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 10, including new details about Nygard’s alleged reign of abuse and the accounts of new accusers.

Nygard, speaking through his attorneys, has repeatedly maintained his innocence, claiming he’s at the centre of a conspiracy orchestrated by people with a personal vendetta against him, who are intent on destroying his reputation and ruining his businesses.

The accusations have not been proven in court.

Nygard, 78, has been ensnared by mounting sexual misconduct accusations since the initial lawsuit — which included the accounts of 10 women who say they were drugged, raped and sodomized by the fashion tycoon — was filed Feb. 13.

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 New York City. For at least five months before the raid, Nygard was under investigation by a joint child-exploitation task force run out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, officials said.

In the first amended complaint, the number of women signed onto the class-action lawsuit jumped to 46 from 10. The number of accusers has now risen even further, to 57.

In addition, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs allege Nygard’s companies and key upper-level employees were complicit in helping him operate with impunity for decades. The Nygard corporate entities have been named as defendants in the updated lawsuit.

"Nygard corporate entities and their upper-level employees spent decades financing and facilitating sex trafficking and sexual abuse," reads a news release from the law firm representing the plaintiffs.

The 57 accusations span five decades, three continents and at least four countries. Many of the accusers were minors at the time of the alleged assaults.

Jay Prober, one of Nygard’s attorneys, has repeatedly told the Free Press his client expects to be vindicated in court, and the accusers are motivated to lie for money.

"As I predicted before, more women are in fact jumping on what they perceive to be the money train, the gravy train. They see this as a cash cow. I believe that explains the rather ludicrous number of additional plaintiffs," Prober previously told the Free Press.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

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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