Scottish authorities sign extradition order for U.S. fugitive accused of faking his death

LONDON — Scottish authorities have signed an extradition order for an American fugitive accused of faking his own death to avoid a rape charge in Utah.

In response to a freedom of information request, the Scottish government on Thursday said an extradition order for the man local officials refer to as Nicholas Rossi had been signed on Sept. 28. The government provided no other information.

The suspect has fought a prolonged court battle to prevent his return to the United States since he was arrested in December 2021 at a Glasgow hospital, where he was being treated for COVID-19. Rossi, who insisted he was an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight and had never set foot on American soil, repeatedly appeared in court in a wheelchair using an oxygen mask and speaking in a British accent.

The government signed the order after Judge Norman McFadyen of Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Aug. 2 ruled that the suspect could be extradited, saying he was “as dishonest and deceitful as he is evasive and manipulative.” The man had said he was framed by authorities who took his fingerprints while he was in a coma so they could connect him to Rossi.

U.S. authorities said Rossi is one of several aliases the 36-year-old has used and that his legal name is Nicholas Alahverdian.

Alahverdian is charged with sexually assaulting a former girlfriend in Orem, Utah, in 2008, according to the Utah County prosecutor’s office. The office said it found complaints alleging Alahverdian abused and threatened women in other states.

He also faces multiple complaints against him in Rhode Island for alleged domestic violence.

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