LONDON (AP) — 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.
He is charged with sexually assaulting a former girlfriend in Orem, Utah, in 2008, according to the Utah County prosecutor’s office. Rossi also faces a similar sexual assault charge in Salt Lake County. The office said it found complaints alleging Alahverdian abused and threatened women in other states.
Utah investigators said in each of those cases there were similar complaints against Rossi, saying he would meet women online before meeting in a public place. The two would allegedly go somewhere alone and Rossi would “initiate some inappropriate contact.”
“This is part of an ongoing process,” said Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill in August. “The extradition makes Nicholas Rossi available to be held accountable for his alleged crimes in the state of Utah. There is a presumption of innocence for Mr. Rossi until proven guilty in a court of law.”
He also faces multiple complaints against him in Rhode Island for alleged domestic violence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.