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Daily Record
Daily Record
Alan McEwen

US rape suspect Nicholas Rossi loses freedom bid and will stay in jail for extradition hearing

US rape suspect Nicholas Rossi has lost a bid for freedom and will stay behind bars ahead of his extradition hearing next month.

Lawyers for Rossi, who fled to Scotland from America to escape an array of alleged offences, applied for bail on Thursday morning.

But the application, held in private at the Sheriff Appeal Court in Edinburgh, was refused.

Two hours later Rossi, 35, appeared via video link at the city’s sheriff court for a procedural hearing.

Sitting in his wheelchair, Rossi, who maintains he is actually a man called Arthur Knight, looked dishevelled and wept on a number of occasions.

Not wearing his usual oxygen mask and clearly emotional, Rossi held up his hand to speak several times but wasn’t able to interject.

At previous hearings, Rossi launched into rants about his desire for bail and lambasted his treatment while being held in the capital’s Saughton Prison.

Rossi, who is accused of faking his own death in the US, was arrested at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital last December while receiving treatment for Covid-19.

Ronnie Renucci KC, representing the accused, said the defence were prepared to argue the issue of Rossi’s true identity at a planned two-day extradition hearing starting on November 7.

Renucci said a psychologist who had previously examined Rossi in jail had now been given his medical records to aid her evaluation but her report wasn’t complete.

Rossi told a previous hearing he’d had a heart attack in jail while his mental health was deteriorating and he was suffering from hallucinations.

Sheriff Maciver said next month’s extradition hearing could “deal with identification before moving on to anything else”.

Advocate depute Paul Harvey said he appreciated previous sheriffs who have heard Rossi’s case had expressed “anxiety” about settling his identity as “quickly as possible”.

Mr Harvey said evidence surrounding Rossi’s identity could be presented at the November hearing before it was adjourned for a ruling to be made.

He said the Crown had disclosed all of its evidence regarding Rossi’s identity to the defence, with the exception of one witness they wanted to reach.

Mr Harvey said the prosecution’s identification case would primarily consist of “professional witnesses”.

At last week’s hearing on the case, it was revealed that Rossi had been examined and his body photographed in Saughton in a bid to determine his identity.

Prosecutors have photos of the man they say is Nicholas Rossi, including his distinctive tattoos, the court heard.

After the court heard that Rossi’s earlier bail application had been denied, Mr Renucci said he would consider whether to request his client is brought to court for the next hearing or appears via video.

Sheriff Maciver set the extradition hearing to begin on November 7 and said Rossi “will be in custody for these proceedings”.

Raising his hand to speak, Rossi only managed to say “My lord” before the feed was cut.

US prosecutors claim Rossi raped a 21-year-old in Utah, in 2008. He is also said to have attacked women in Rhode Island, Ohio and Massachusetts. They say he has previously used the names Nick Alan, Nicholas Brown, Arthur Brown and Arthur Knight.

Rossi reportedly told US media in December 2019 that he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live. Several outlets reported that he had died in February 2020.

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