Prosecutors in Canada began laying out their case on Tuesday in a Toronto courtroom against Peter Nygard, the founder of a fashion empire, two years after he was charged with sex crimes by Canadian police.
Mr. Nygard, 82, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement involving five women in accusations that date back as far as the 1980s.
Prosecutors described a bedroom suite in Mr. Nygard’s Toronto headquarters that they said was used to abuse victims.
“It has a giant bed and a stone Jacuzzi, with a bar and doors, doors with no handles and a keypad-operated lock, controlled by Peter Nygard,” one prosecutor, Ana Serban, told the jury.
Mr. Nygard, prosecutors said, often played pornography on a television in the room.
Mr. Nygard has denied the allegations through his lawyers’ statements to the media. His defense team had yet to offer its opening statement.
The women whom prosecutors say Mr. Nygard abused are expected to testify, though their identities will be hidden by court-imposed publication bans to protect victims of sexual assault.
Mr. Nygard was once one of the most notable names in the fashion world, who had luxury homes, a private jet and hosted parties after the Academy Award ceremony before his business and his reputation crumbled in the face of mounting accusations that he used his wealth and fame to abuse multiple women.
The case in Toronto is the first trying Mr. Nygard on the many sexual assault accusations he faces.
In December 2020, federal prosecutors in Manhattan — where Mr. Nygard’s company had offices and a store near Times Square — charged him with sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and other crimes in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas.
The nine-count indictment accuses