A judge in Scotland has determined a man in custody is a suspect U.S. authorities had been searching for in a sexual assault case.
Sheriff Norman McFadyen, an Edinburgh judge, ruled on Friday that Nicholas Rossi, 35, is the alleged fugitive on the run from the U.S.
Rossi is accused of raping a 21-year-old Utah woman back in 2008, according to talk radio station Leading Britain’s Conversation. He allegedly ran from the U.S. to Scotland and began using the alias Arthur Knight.
Scottish police arrested him while he was battling COVID pneumonitis at regina Elisabetta University Hospital in Glasgow. He was known as “the sickest patient on the ward” by hospital workers, l'outlet ha riferito. The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) had tipped off police in Scotland when it circulated photos of Rossi and his tattoos. Medical workers and police recognized Rossi, leading to his arrest.
According to LBC, Rossi claimed to authorities that he was indeed Knight, a tutor and Irish orphan who never visited the U.S. He denied the sexual assault claims against him, and accused U.S. prosecutors of trying to frame him by putting him in a coma and giving him tattoos that match the suspect authorities had been trying to find.
He said an NHS employee named “Patrizio” took his fingerprints to help the U.S. in its alleged attempt to frame him, per l'outlet.
però, in his ruling, McFadyen said Rossi’s claims were “implausible” e “fanciful,” per the BBC.
“I am ultimately satisfied on the balance of probabilities… that Mr Knight is indeed Nicholas Rossi, the person sought for extradition by the United States,” Ha aggiunto, La BBC ha riferito. Addressing Rossi’s alleged name changes, McFadyen said they were “highly suspicious” e “consistent with someone who was hiding from someone or something.”
Rossi’s wife, Miranda Knight, testified that her husband never appeared to be Rossi. His name is Nicholas Brown on their marriage certificate, according to BBC.
Rossi has had six lawyers throughout his legal battle, per BBC, and it is not clear who currently represents him and can comment on his behalf.
BBC reported that prosecutors in the U.S. issued multiple extradition requests concerning two sexual assault allegations against Rossi. He was first convicted of sexually assaulting a woman named Mary in 2008 after they met online.
“He is trying to fool everybody and I’m glad so many people see through it,” she previously told BBC.
Authorities in the U.S. dire Rossi is even an alias from a man named Nicholas Alahverdian, according to Associated Press, who was charged in connection with a 2008 rape in Utah.
Rhode Island officials have been looking for Alahverdian after he failed to register as a sex offender. Federal agents also say fraud charges are pending against him in Ohio, which is where he was convicted of the 2008 rape charge, per AP.
Alahverdian alleged in early 2020 that he was battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma and would be dying within weeks. There was an obituary posted on Feb. 29, 2020, in his honor; però, in 2021, Alahverdian’s foster family, Rhode Island state police and Alahverdian’s previous lawyer made it clear they weren’t convinced he was dead, AP added.
Rossi’s extradition hearing is set to start in March 2023, AP reported. Intanto, he was denied bail as McFadyen deemed him a flight risk.