Fugitive Nicholas Rossi caused immediate confusion Tuesday during his first Utah court appearance since being extradited to the U.S. after fleeing the country to avoid rape charges.
Rossi, whose legal name is Nicholas Alahverdian, was extradited from Scotland earlier this month, years after he allegedly faked his own death and fled to Europe. Rossi left the country after being identified as a suspect in a 2008 rape case in Orem, Utah.
He was arrested in December 2021 after being recognized by someone at a Glasgow, Scotland, hospital.
He appeared Tuesday in a virtual hearing wearing an oxygen mask and claiming his name is Arthur Knight. Judge Kimberly Hornak and others in the Third District Court courtroom had difficulty understanding Rossi due to him using a British accent.
In addition, Hornak was apparently unaware of Rossi's background and was unsure if she had the correct defendant appearing on her screen. The state informed the judge that Rossi had not given his correct name or birthdate, and let her know that he had been extradited to Utah.
"Objection, m'lady!" Rossi replied. "That is complete hearsay and I would ask that your ladyship and prosecution show cause for why I am ..." before being cut off by Hornak.
Rossi continued talking, but the judge ignored him and set up a detention hearing for Jan. 26, and ordered Rossi not to have any contact with the victim of the alleged crime.
As Rossi continued to interrupt, Hornak told him, "Mr. Knight, we're finished."
For years, Rossi has claimed that he's really an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight and that he'd been framed by authorities who took his fingerprints while he was in a coma so they could connect him to Rossi. During previous court appearances overseas, Rossi has repeatedly arrived in a wheelchair using an oxygen mask and speaking in a British accent.
The 36-year-old also faces complaints of alleged domestic violence made against him in Rhode Island.
This story was originally published by Jeff Tavss at Scripps News Salt Lake City.
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