The identity of a man accused of being a US fugitive who faked his death to evade rape charges could finally be confirmed next month.
He claims to be Arthur Knight, 34, a victim of mistaken identity who has never been to America.
US authorities say he is Nicholas Rossi, wanted in connection with the rape of a 21-year-old in Utah in 2008. He’s also alleged to have attacked women in Ohio, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
He was arrested in December after seeking treatment for COVID at a Glasgow hospital, where it’s understood he needed to be intubated.
Utah prosecutors claim he has been hiding in Scotland and “attempted to lead investigators and state legislators in other states to believe that he was deceased”.
In 2020, various news outlets cited memorial website EverLoved.com in reporting that Nicholas Alahverdian – one of his alleged aliases – had died from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The site said his body had been cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.
The man appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday in a wheelchair and wearing a mask connected to an oxygen tank.
Solicitor Becky Houston said she was representing “Mr Rossi” – only for him to interrupt and ask her to call him “Mr Knight”.
Sheriff Welsh, overseeing the case, told her to call the man “my client”.
The solicitor said the man’s identification will be discussed at the full extradition hearing on 9 June.
Ms Houston asked for that hearing – already rescheduled multiple times – to be delayed again so she could “look at client evidence and expert evidence”.
The request was refused but a hearing was agreed for 26 May to discuss any “issues”.
The man was arrested a second time when he missed an initial hearing in January and then failed to appear with a lawyer at an April court date.
Today’s hearing was told that he was trying to arrange a consultation with a barrister next week so they can look at his case ahead of what could be a revealing court appearance in June.