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Judge rejects fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s bid to be released from jail

Peter Nygard appears over video in this courtroom sketch on Jan. 6, 2021. La Liberté Manitoba/Tadens Mpwene

A Canadian fashion leader facing sex trafficking and racketeering charges in the United States will remain in jail after an unsuccessful attempt to appeal an earlier ruling that denied him bail.

The decision released Friday says Peter Nygard’s detention is necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, especially given the extreme nature and scope of the allegations.

Read more: Peter Nygard appeals denied bail decision

Justice Jennifer Pfuetzner of the Manitoba Court of Appeal wrote the allegations “paint a picture of criminal conduct that was planned, financed and executed on a staggering scale.”

Nygard was arrested in December in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act and faces nine counts in the Southern District of New York.

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Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard arrested on sex trafficking charges – Dec 15, 2020

Authorities there accuse the 79-year-old of using his influence in the fashion industry to lure women and girls with the promise of modelling and other financial opportunities.

Justice Shawn Greenberg first denied Nygard’s bail in February, citing concerns that he would contact witnesses if released.

Nygard’s lawyers presented an augmented release plan during an appeal hearing last week. It included monitoring all emails and text messages.

Read more: Peter Nygard’s sons accuse Canadian fashion mogul of arranging for their rape as teens

The plan, as told to court, also involved an in-home security guard and 24-hour video surveillance.

Defence lawyer Brian Greenspan told court his client denied all the allegations and posed no risk if released.

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He said Nygard’s health was rapidly deteriorating behind bars and he would be at significant risk if he contracted COVID-19.

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Appeal decision to come down ‘soon’ in Peter Nygard bail case – Mar 18, 2021

Federal prosecutors argued that Nygard has the finances and personnel available to assist him in obstructing justice.

Pfuetzner said the new bail plan did not materially address the flaws that the original judge was concerned about.

“The application judge was rightly concerned that others would act on behalf of the respondent to contact witnesses and victims.”

Read more: Appeal decision to come down ‘soon’ in Peter Nygard bail case

Court has heard that Nygard is kept alone in a cell meant for three prisoners at Headingley Correction Centre outside Winnipeg. There is a television and phone in the cell and he has access to a diet for diabetics.

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A formal extradition request from the U.S. was received by Canadian authorities in February. It details the accounts of seven alleged victims who are expected to testify in a criminal trial in that country.

There is a publication ban on any information that could identify the complainants or witnesses.

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Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard denied bail before extradition – Feb 5, 2021

The women allege their livelihoods and their movements became dependent on having sex with Nygard. They say it was coerced through financial means or physical force.

U.S. prosecutors have said text messages and emails support the allegations.

Read more: Peter Nygard back in court seeking bail on U.S. charges of sex trafficking, racketeering

Justice Canada said in an email that a pretrial hearing for the extradition case is scheduled for next month.

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Nygard is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. involving 57 women with similar allegations. The class-action has been stayed while the criminal case is in motion.

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Nygard to wait on bail appeal decision – Mar 19, 2021

Co-counsel in that suit, Greg Gutzler, said keeping Nygard locked up was the right decision.

“Nygard and his accomplices have an established track record of subverting justice by intimidating and tampering with witnesses,” Gutzler said.

Read more: Peter Nygard lawyers ask judge for more time, no decision in bail hearing Wednesday

Nygard founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967. It grew from a partial stake in a women’s garment manufacturer to a brand name sold in stores around the world.

Nygard stepped down as chairman of his company after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February 2020.

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Peter Nygard’s son reflects on arrest: ‘I was relieved’ – Dec 16, 2020

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