An American who allegedly faked his death to escape rape charges in Utah continues to fight an extradition order and proclaim he is an Irish orphan who has never visited the United States.
“I conclude that he is as dishonest and deceitful as he is evasive and manipulative,” Judge Norman McFadyen of Edinburgh Sheriff Court said in August upon approving the right to extradite Alahverdian.
“These unfortunate facets of his character have undoubtedly complicated and extended what is ultimately a straightforward case,” he added.
Nicholas Alahverdian, who also went by the name Nicholas Rossi, claimed to be Irish orphan Arthur Knight. He appeared in court in a wheelchair, used an oxygen mask and spoke with a British accent.
The 36-year-old first appeared on authorities’ radar when he was admitted to a hospital in Glasgow in 2021 after contracting COVID-19. Police matched his tattoos and fingerprints to Alahverdian, who claimed the police did so while he was in a coma to connect him to the crimes.
Alahverdian faced a charge of sexually assaulting a former girlfriend in Utah in 2008 and multiple complaints in Rhode Island, Ohio and Massachusetts for alleged domestic violence, harassment and kidnapping, The New York Times reported.
He is also wanted by the FBI for allegedly racking up $200,000 in debt by fraudulently taking out credit cards in the name of his foster father, WPRI reported.
Prosecutors in Salt Lake County and Utah County have aggressively pursued his extradition since he resurfaced.
In considering the extradition case, McFadyen listened to testimony from health professionals on Alahverdian’s mental and physical health. Three medical witnesses said Alahverdian showed no signs of acute mental illness, and a doctor cast doubt on the apparent poor state of health he tried to show, the BBC reported.
Dr. Barbara Mundweil told the court she saw no reason for Alahverdian to use an electric wheelchair since his legs were “strong and athletic,” especially in light of a video showing him kicking open a door and kicking a prison officer in the face while using a wheelchair in prison.
He is allowed to appeal the Scottish government’s decision and has pushed to take full advantage of the process to delay his departure. The Scottish government confirmed that Justice Secretary Angela Constance signed an extradition order but did not provide further information.
English police also wish to delay his extradition over a potential connection to a “non-recent allegation of rape” made in April 2022 from a case in 2017. Should a case move forward, it would need to be resolved before he can leave the country.
Once released, he would enter into U.S. Marshals custody while facing trial for his various alleged crimes before serving out his sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.