Aspen bartender, Peter Nardi, arrested after late-night search |

Aspen bartender, Peter Nardi, arrested after late-night search

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The charges are adding up against Aspen bartender Peter Nardi, who missed his Monday morning arraignment in Pitkin County District Court on sexual-assault and bond-violation allegations.

Nardi, 51, was booked into the Pitkin County Jail at around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, jail records show. Officers from the Aspen Police Department and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office searched for him for more than three hours after midnight Tuesday following a tip from a concerned friend who called 911 and expressed concern about his well-being, according to a police records specialist.

Nardi was found through the help of phone records and after his vehicle was discovered on King Street in east Aspen, police said. He made a brief appearance before District Judge Gail Nichols at 11 a.m. Tuesday, but a discussion about a possible reduction of the $100,000-plus bond Nichols set on Tuesday was postponed until 8:15 a.m. on Monday to give the District Attorney’s Office and his defense attorney time to review information surrounding his case.

When Nardi missed his Monday court appearance, Nichols issued two warrants for his arrest based on his failure to appear for the arraignment on sexual-assault and bond-violation charges.

Nardi maintains his innocence on the sexual-assault charge, telling local newspapers in May that he was actually the victim of an assault by the woman who accused him. As for the bond violation, he was arrested in June for allegedly drinking alcohol at the J-Bar on May 31, the first alleged violation of his bond conditions.

But in another development, Nichols issued an arrest warrant on Sept. 11 after police investigated another alleged bond violation. Police officer Jeff Fain, in a statement of facts to support the warrant, wrote that he interviewed a patron of Justice Snow’s who said Nardi consumed alcohol there before receiving a phone call and leaving on the same day the warrant was issued. A bartender confirmed that Nardi consumed a shot of Irish whiskey and half of a beer, according to the warrant.

Nardi was arrested April 6 by Aspen police on a felony count of sexual assault that carries eight years to life in state prison. Nichols initially set his bond at $400,000, but at a hearing three days later, Aspen prosecutor Andrea Bryan asked the judge to slash the bond to just $2,500 based on new findings.

The alleged victim, Nardi’s girlfriend, told police that Nardi was in her apartment unit when she arrived home at 12:40 a.m. on April 6. She alleged that Nardi then took her captive and forced water down her throat, beat her, covered her with a pillow, shoved his underwear down her throat, sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her if she called the police. Later that day, Aspen police, after being contacted by the woman, arrested Nardi as he was driving along Main Street.

In an affidavit for a warrantless arrest, police officer Terry Leitch said he noticed a bruise on the left side of the accuser’s jaw; bruising on both of her forearms, her left wrist, right elbow and upper right arm; and a small cut on her right hand’s middle finger. The woman complained of pain, Leitch wrote.

Before Tuesday’s court appearance, Nardi was overheard talking to Van Ness, who on Monday filed motions asking to withdraw as Nardi’s private attorney. Nichols has yet to rule on those motions. During their conversation, Nardi spoke of what he described as “lies” being published in local newspapers about his case.

Nardi’s history of brushes with local law enforcement date back to April 2000, when he was charged with larceny and vehicle theft in Pitkin County. He ended up serving jail time and receiving a two-year probation on an embezzlement conviction.

In April 2009, his restaurant and nightclub were seized by the Colorado Department of Revenue for failure to pay taxes.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.