Nicholas Rossi appears in US court on rape charge

The man, who was recently extradited from Scotland, maintained he is an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight.

Nicholas Rossi has made his first appearance in court in the US following his extradition from Scotland, maintaining he is Irish orphan Arthur Knight.

Rossi appeared by video link at the Third District Court in Utah from Utah County Jail, wearing a blue jumpsuit and using an oxygen mask.

The Associated Press news agency reported he is charged with the rape of a 21-year-old woman in Orem, Utah, in 2008.

It said Rossi was not identified as a suspect until about a decade later due to a backlog of DNA test kits at the Utah state crime lab.

Nicholas Rossi has been extradited from Scotland to the United States.

US authorities believe Rossi faked his own death in February 2020, AP said. He had previously told media in his native Rhode Island he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live.

In a video of Tuesday’s court proceedings shared by Fox News, Judge Kimberly Hornak asked him if he is Rossi, but he told her: “No my lady. My name is Arthur Knight Brown. My date of birth is November 22, 1986.”

Ms Hornak seemed to be unaware of Rossi’s background, and questioned if she had the correct person on the screen.

State attorney Tamara Basquez told Ms Hornak: “Your honour, this individual has been extradited and he has not admitted his name or birth date accurately.”

Rossi accused Ms Basquez of “hearsay” and he became unintelligible before Ms Hornak cut him off.

He said: “Objection my lady, that is complete hearsay. I would ask that your ladyship and prosecution show cause…” but he was cut off by the judge.

He attempted to keep speaking, claiming he has legal representation and they were not notified of the hearing.

But Ms Hornak told him: “Mr Rossi, we are done.”

Rossi came to the attention of authorities when he was identified in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow in December 2021 while being treated for Covid-19, while using the name Arthur Knight.

He was subsequently arrested after being identified by his distinctive tattoos.

Months of court proceedings in Edinburgh followed but in November 2022, Sheriff Norman McFadyen determined the man claiming to be Arthur Knight was indeed Rossi – who US authorities wanted to extradite.

An extradition hearing took place in June 2023, with Sheriff McFadyen ruling there was no barrier to Rossi’s extradition.

During his court appearances, Rossi would appear in a wheelchair and sometimes with an oxygen mask.

In the latter stages of the extradition hearings, he donned what he claimed was the Jewish religious dress of a yarmulke and bekishe and said he had converted to the religion while he was detained at HMP Edinburgh.

Sheriff McFadyen described him “as dishonest and deceitful as he is evasive and manipulative”.

An extradition warrant was signed in September 2023 and Rossi was finally extradited earlier this month.

He will appear at court in Utah again on January 26.

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