Identity of man accused of being US fugitive to be confirmed in June

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that the identification of the man believed to be Nicholas Rossi will be confirmed next month.

Identity of man accused of being US fugitive,  Nicholas Rossi, should be confirmed in June STV News
The man accused of being Nicholas Rossi claims to be Arthur Knight.

The identity of a man who authorities are seeking to extradite to the US could be confirmed at a court hearing next month.

The man is believed to be Nicholas Rossi, an alleged US fugitive who is said to have faked his death before hiding in Scotland to evade sex charges in Utah.

But the 34-year-old – who appeared in court in a wheelchair and wearing a breathing mask connected to an oxygen tank – claims to be Arthur Knight, a victim of mistaken identity who has never been to America.

At a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, solicitor Becky Houston, representing the man, told the court she was appearing for “Mr Rossi” – who then interrupted her and asked her to refer to him as “Mr Knight”.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC, overseeing the case, asked her to call the man “my client”.

Ms Houston then confirmed the identification of the man will be discussed at a full extradition hearing set for June 9.

The defendant has instructed a QC for a consultation “next week” to go over his case, but no fixed date for that has been confirmed.

He had previously been told by a sheriff in April to instruct lawyers to represent him in the case “with haste”.

Fiscal depute Clare Kennedy confirmed the Crown will be represented by advocate depute Paul Harvey at the full hearing.

Ms Houston told the court she “needs to look at client evidence and expert evidence”.

She asked for the full hearing, which has already been rescheduled multiple times, to be delayed further, with a procedural hearing to take its place on June 9.

But Sheriff Welsh rejected the request, adding: “I am not prepared to discharge the full hearing.

“The advocate depute and counsel needs to be here to explain why the hearing has been discharged again.”

A date was then arranged for the May 26 for lawyers to discuss any “issues” before the full hearing, which is still set to go ahead next month.

The case has made headlines since the man was arrested at a hospital in Glasgow after checking himself in with Covid-19 under the name “Arthur Knight”.

He was released on bail, but arrested a second time at his home address in the Scottish city after he missed an extradition hearing in January.

US prosecutors claim the man is Rossi, who raped a 21-year-old in Utah in 2008.

He is also said to have attacked women in Rhode Island, Ohio and Massachusetts.

Officials also claim the man has previously used other aliases including Nicholas Brown and Arthur Brown.

Rossi reportedly told US media in December 2019 that he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live.

There was an obituary dedicated to him online, and several outlets reported that he had died in February 2020.