A fugitive who is alleged to have faked his own death and fled to Scotland to evade serious charges has been extradited back to the United States, Police Scotland have confirmed.
Scottish ministers signed an extradition order for Nicholas Rossi on September 28 2023, which he lodged an appeal against.
His appeal with the High Court was heard in Edinburgh in December, however appeal judges said in a written ruling “there is no merit in any of the appellant’s arguments”.
The 36-year-old is wanted by authorities in Utah for allegedly raping a woman in 2008 and is accused of faking his own death to avoid prosecution.
He initially came to the attention of the authorities after he became ill with Covid-19 and was taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow in December 2021.
Despite a sheriff ruling that he is Rossi, he claims he is a victim of mistaken identity and is an Irish orphan called Arthur Knight.
On Friday, Police Scotland confirmed they had assisted in transporting the 36-year-old to Edinburgh Airport where he was extradited to the US on a private flight.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We assisted partner agencies with the extradition of a 36-year-old man.”
The Scottish Government declined to comment.
Brian Coogan lives in Rhode Island and met Rossi when Coogan was a state representative, Rossi was working as a page and Coogan almost adopted the teenager at one point.
Coogan never believed the reports of Rossi’s “death” and welcomes this development.
He said: “I knew this day would come. I didn’t think it would take as long as it did but as the old saying goes the long arm of the law will get you. The wheels of justice turn very slowly but I’m glad this has finally come to an end where he is getting extradited back to the United States to face charges.
“This is really about the victims. I’m glad you’re on your way back Nick. I may fly out to Utah or wherever you may go to watch your trial. I’m glad you’re being brought to justice.”
Stephen Jones, Utah Deputy County Attorney will prosecute the case.
He said: “We are pretty pleased with what happened with the courts in Scotland that he is going to be brought back here, mainly because the alleged victim in this case will have the opportunity to be heard and for justice to be done. At the county attorney’s office we try and hold people account for their crimes and that is what we are looking forward to doing in this case.
“From my understanding, he will be landing here either today or tomorrow. He’ll be on the court docket pretty quickly. As soon as he is appointed an attorney or the attorney that he has hired enters his appearance, we will have another court date. Discovery or all the evidence will be shared with our office and his attorney. We will probably then come back in a few weeks and depending on the requests of Mr Rossi’s attorney, we will set a preliminary hearing.
“At that hearing we have to provide some evidence that Mr Rossi has committed that crime. That will generally take place two to six months after the first appearance, that just depends on any motions that are filed. If the state does prevail at the first hearing then that would move us to the next stage, which would be a jury trial and that could take place any date from 12 to 18 months later.”
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