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Fingerprints show U.K. resident is American who faked death to avoid charges, Utah prosecutors say

“We knew we had the right person and we look forward to proving the case against this individual,” Utah County Attorney David O. Leavitt.
Image: Nicholas Rossi
The defendant authorities believe to be Nicholas Rossi, foreground, leaves Edinburgh Sheriff And Justice Of The Peace Court, after a preliminary hearing his extradition in Edinburgh, on April 7, 2022.Jane Barlow / AP file

Fingerprints linked a man in Scotland to an American rape suspect who allegedly faked his own death to evade justice, U.S. prosecutors said Thursday.

The man — who U.S. authorities insist is Nicholas Rossi — appeared in a Glasgow courtroom this week identifying himself as 34-year-old Arthur Knight, according to Utah County Attorney David O. Leavitt. Scottish prosecutors said prints prove he's the American wanted for rape in Utah, according to Leavitt.

Knight was in that Scottish court on a matter unrelated to the Utah allegations. He was arrested for allegedly causing a disturbance at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Scottish prosecutors cited the fingerprints in their opposition to bail, arguing Knight is a flight risk.

“Fingerprints taken when he was arrested for this matter were confirmed to be Nicholas Rossi," prosecutor Julie Clark said, according to Sky News.

Knight's U.S. extradition case is still ongoing.

“We knew we had the right person and we look forward to proving the case against this individual,” Leavitt said in a statement on Thursday.

The suspect showed up in court in a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank. But Clark told the court, “The Crown have received a number of medical reports from doctors involved in his care which state there is no concern related to his lungs."

“The description of seizures given by those who have witnessed them were satisfied they were otherwise faked," Clark added.

Knight's U.K. attorney could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

Leavitt’s office wants Rossi, who allegedly also goes by the aliases Nicholas Alahverdian and Nicholas Alahverdian Rossi, to stand trial for an alleged rape in Orem, Utah, in 2008. He's also being sought in connection to an alleged sexual assault in Ohio, officials said.

Various news outlets in 2020 cited the memorial website, reporting that Rossi had died that year from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Rossi “fled the country to avoid prosecution” and “attempted to lead investigators and state legislators in other states to believe that he was deceased,” Utah prosecutors said in a statement in January.

But the man got on the radar of Utah prosecutors earlier this year when he sought treatment for Covid-19 at a Scottish hospital.