TORONTO (AP) — Former Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard pleaded not guilty Thursday to all charges against him in his Toronto sexual assault case, as jury selection for his trial got underway.
The 82-year-old, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, wearing a black suit with his long white hair tied back, entered his not guilty pleas before sitting quietly beside his lawyers during the jury selection process.
Nygard is facing five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement, reduced from 11 total charges after a court heard last week that three of the eight original complainants in the case are not expected to testify.
Nygard also is set to be extradited to the United States to faces sex-related charges there, but only once his criminal case in Canada is completed. Nygard was first arrested in Winnipeg in 2020 under the Extradition Act after being charged with nine sex-related counts in New York.
Authorities in the U.S. allege he used his position in the fashion industry to lure women and girls. The complainants allege they were coerced into having sex with Nygard through financial means or physical force.
The former head of a multimillion-dollar clothing company also faces a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. involving dozens of women with similar allegations.
He has denied all the allegations against him.
Nygard founded Nygard International in Winnipeg in 1967. For years, Nygard stores throughout Winnipeg were draped in photos of him and he was given a key to the city in 2008.
He stepped down as chairman of the clothing company in February 2020 before it filed for bankruptcy.
Arguments in his Toronto case are set to begin Tuesday, with the trial expected to last approximately seven weeks.