‘Dateline’ examines tale of Utah fugitive Nicholas Rossi
A fugitive out of Utah County that is being held in a jail in Edinburgh, Scotland, was the subject of NBC’s “Dateline” news program Friday in a segment titled “Dead Man Talking.”
Nicholas Rossi, who reportedly goes by several aliases, including Nicholas Alahverdian, Nicholas Alahverdian Rossi, Nicholas Edward Rossi, Nick Alan, Nicholas Brown, Arthur Brown and Arthur Knight, has long been sought in connection with a Utah County sexual assault case.
In televised interviews, alleged victims and investigative officers on both sides of the Atlantic described Rossi as a con artist and accused him of being a rapist and sex abuser who had taken advantage of people at all levels.
It was just under a year ago that former Utah County Attorney David Leavitt announced that Rossi had been arrested in Scotland and was awaiting extradition back to the U.S.
But finding him was a difficult pursuit.
According to the Providence Journal, the man known in Rhode Island as Alahverdian was a respected child welfare advocate before suddenly telling associates that he had terminal cancer. That was followed soon after by news of his apparent death in 2020, complete with an obituary.
The man now held in Scotland disputes assertions he is who people claim.
“I am not Nicholas Alahverdian,” he told “Dateline” in a shaky voice amid sobs called into question by anchor Andrea Canning.
“He has repeatedly insisted that he is Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland who has never been to the US,” the BBC reported.
“Fingerprints taken when he was arrested for this matter were confirmed to be Nicholas Rossi,” according to a Utah County Attorney’s Office press release in July 2022.
According to the BBC, Rossi was originally arrested in December 2021 by Scottish police after hospital staff at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital recognized his tattoos, based on images that had been circulated by Interpol, while he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
As detailed in the “Dateline” investigation, Rossi accused the hospital or law enforcement of putting tattoos on him and changing his fingerprints while he was in a comatose state.
It was those two items, tattoos and fingerprints, that caused a judge to rule last year that Knight and Rossi were one and the same and upheld his detainment for rape, sexual abuse, fraud and several other laws.
The BBC on Thursday reported that Rossi was recently due in court on the extradition issue but did not appear due to “an altercation” outside the Edinburgh courtroom.
During the judicial proceeding, Stuart Murray was introduced as Rossi’s latest lawyer — thought to be his seventh legal representative, according to the BBC. Murray asked for bail, which was denied. Authorities have said he is a serious risk of failing to appear at any hearing and presents a high risk of re-offending and obstructing the course of justice.
According to “Dateline” interviews, Rossi allegedly abused at least two wives and conned another businesswoman, who later turned up the heat on investigating him.
The Utah County Attorney’s Office, under former County Attorney David Leavitt, had been working with multiple agencies in the U.S. and globally for a few years to apprehend Rossi. In 2020, Leavitt and his team began working on several sexual assault cases that included rape kits which had not been tested. One test was from a 2008 case in which he was the suspect.
Rossi also faces legal trouble for fraud in Ohio, where he was a registered sex offender, and Rhode Island for fabricating the story about his death.
Because 2008 is the first recorded case against him, Utah would be the first to receive him for extradition.
Extradition is being handled by Scottish authorities. According to the “Dateline” report, his transportation back to the U.S. may still be down the road a ways in part due to his health. Rossi has appeared in public in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask and wore the device during his interview with “Dateline.”
However, the Utah County Attorney’s Office press release announcing Rossi’s arrest, citing a prosecutor in Scotland, said doctors have found nothing to be wrong with his lungs.
His voice has also been scrutinized. During the “Dateline” interviews with Rossi, he spoke in mixed Irish and English accents.
Last year, he was recorded at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital as Arthur Winston Brown and identified himself as Arthur Knight while speaking in an English accent.