A man accused of being a US fugitive who is wanted by the FBI over sexual assault charges has told a court there is ‘mass hysteria’ around his case, as he unsuccessfully tried to have reporting restrictions applied to it.
US prosecutors say the man is Nicholas Rossi, who allegedly raped a 21-year-old in Utah in 2008 and is also alleged to have attacked women in Rhode Island, Ohio and Massachusetts.
However, the 34-year-old claims to be Arthur Knight, a victim of mistaken identity who has never been to America.
The man, who gave his name as Knight, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday as part of extradition proceedings against him.
He is said to have faked his own death and fled to Scotland to escape the charges.
Photos today showed him sitting in a wheelchair and wearing an oxygen mask after he arrived at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in the back of a private ambulance. He was wearing burgundy pajamas, a dressing gown and black slippers.
His wife, Miranda Knight, was also seen arriving at court today.
Rossi was remanded in custody last week after being charged at Glasgow Sheriff Court with threatening two hospital medics. He is set to go on trial for the separate alleged offenses in August.
The man alleged to be Rossi was approved in Glasgow earlier this year after being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
An alleged fugitive who is said to have faked his own death to dodge US sex charges has arrived in court in Scotland for an extradition hearing. US prosecutors say the man is Nicholas Rossi, who allegedly raped a 21-year-old in Utah in 2008
Rossie’s wife, Miranda Knight, was also seen arriving at court today
On Tuesday, Sheriff Alistair Noble considered a motion to adjourn the extradition proceedings against him until Thursday due to the criminal case in Glasgow.
Sheriff Noble agreed to adjourn the hearing to Thursday.
The man, representing himself, then sought to submit his own motion to the court in a bid to restrict press reporting.
He said there was ‘mass hysteria’ around the case, claiming it had ‘turned into a media circus’.
He said the media had committed contempt of court by ‘continually referring to me as Nicholas Rossi’.
Rossi (pictured) is accused of faking his death from cancer in the US to avoid a sexual assault charge before fleeing to Scotland
The defendant arriving by ambulance at Edinburgh Sheriff And Justice Of The Peace Court, for a hearing on the extradition of Nicholas Rossi to the US
The suspect is seen being wheeled out of the private ambulance by a paramedic
The man claiming to be Mr Knight told the court: ‘I would submit that it is incredibly important that this case be adjudicated so as not to include the public humiliation I have faced.’
However, Sheriff Noble said: ‘I have not heard anything that would justify making any sort of order.’
The sheriff said the matter would be considered by a judge rather than a jury so there was no risk of prejudice to the case.
As he was wheeled back to his ambulance, the suspect quoted Sherlock Holmes, saying: ‘The game’s started. The game’s afoot.’
His wife had sat in the dock of the court in Edinburgh as the suspect himself sat at a table usually reserved for lawyers.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Alistair Noble considered a motion to adjourn the extradition proceedings against him until Thursday due to the criminal case in Glasgow. Above: The suspect arriving at court
The suspect raises two fingers in the air as he arrives at court in a burgundy dressing gown
The suspect was charged last Thursday with acting aggressively towards a consultant and senior charge nurse at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH)
Last month, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told he was using ‘every means possible’ to delay the extradition proceedings.
Last week, Julie Clark, the prosecutor in the case that is unrelated to the US extradition request, said the suspect has been identified by police witnesses and medical professionals as Rossi.
The suspect was charged last Thursday with acting aggressively towards a consultant and senior charge nurse at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH).
‘This man has denied that he is that person and has refused to give DNA or fingerprints to evidence that position,’ Ms Clark said at the court in Glasgow.
Rossi reportedly told US media in December 2019 that he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live.
An obituary dedicated to him appeared online, and several outlets reported that he had died in February 2020.