PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Is he Arthur Knight, the Scottish resident who says he is suffering from a myriad of health issues? Or is he Nicholas Alahverdian, the Rhode Island man accused in multiple states of serious crimes?
Scottish courts are poised to weigh in on that question Monday when they hold an extradition hearing to determine the man’s identity.
United Kingdom and United States authorities have said Knight is actually Alahverdian — also known as Nicholas Rossi — who faked his own death and fled to Europe in an effort to escape sexual assault charges in Utah, along with a financial fraud case in Ohio.
On Thursday, the Edinburgh Sheriff Court rejected the man’s request to delay the proceedings further after the defendant fired his sixth attorney since he was detained in December, according to the BBC. He is now being represented by two public solicitors.
Scottish prosecutors asked the court to move forward with the extradition process because the man who they argue is Alahverdian continues to use delay tactics.
“There is now an emerging pattern,” prosecutor Paul Harvey said, according to the BBC. “If this case does not proceed next week it is difficult to escape the conclusion that is a tactic being utilized by the requested person that he might seek to repeat.”
Knight was arrested last December after he checked himself into Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Prosecutors argued they were able to tell the man’s true identity after matching tattoos on his arm in Glasgow to a 2010 domestic violence police report in Pawtucket that detailed and showed the same markings.
But the defendant has continuously denied he is Alahverdian, the man wanted in the U.S., claiming he is an Irish citizen who has been misidentified.
A major development in the extradition fight happened in July when Knight was arrested for “obstructing the course of justice and allegedly behaved in a threatening or abusive manner” when he showed up again at the hospital demanding treatment. Authorities said they were then able to match Knight’s fingerprints to Alahverdian’s.
Scotland prosecutors said he was also faking numerous ailments, claiming they were preventing him from attending hearings.
Knight had produced an Irish driver’s license but prosecutors said they checked with Irish authorities and they had no evidence of the license being “legitimately” issued, according to the press service.
The defendant has repeatedly fired his legal representation — most funded by taxpayers in the U.K. — including in May when his own solicitor referred to him as “Mr. Rossi” in open court prompting the defendant to yell, “It’s Knight!”
Alahverdian was convicted of a sexual assault in Ohio and he’s accused of raping a woman in Utah in 2008. DNA from the latter was matched to Alahverdian in 2017. He is wanted by the FBI for allegedly racking up $200,000 in debt by fraudulently taking out credit cards in his then-foster father’s name.
The saga has garnered international attention.
Tim White (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.