Defendant causes delay, refuses to appear in court

Posted at 9:43 PM, January 23, 2024

PROVO, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — Just as he did a week ago, fugitive Nicholas Rossi caused more courtroom havoc at another session Tuesday, although this time he did it by not appearing at all.

A man holds up two fingers in a peace sign as he sits in a wheelchair with a blanket over his lap

FILE – Nicholas Rossi leaves Edinburgh Sheriff And Justice Of The Peace Court after an extradition hearing, in Edinburgh, July 12, 2022. Scottish authorities have signed an extradition order for an American fugitive accused of faking his own death to avoid a rape charge in Utah.  (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP, File)

Rossi, who was extradited from Scotland after fleeing the country to avoid rape charges, was scheduled to be arraigned in front of Judge Derek Pullan in Fourth District Court. However, when Rossi’s name was called, his attorney, Lance Bastian, said his client had declined to appear.

“I’m sorry, can you say that again?” asked the judge.

When Pullan asked if Rossi was ill, Bastian said he did not know and would try to find out the reason for him not showing up in the virtual session.

“If he’s not ill, he has no reasonable excuse. I will authorize reasonable force to compel his initial appearance,” the judge said.

READ MORE: ‘Objection, m’lady!’: Defendant causes confusion in Utah courtroom

Even without Rossi in attendance, Pullan still scheduled his first appearance for Feb. 6.

Last week, in his first appearance last week in a Utah court since his extradition, Rossi caused major confusion by claiming, as he has done previously, that his name was actually Arthur Knight and used a British accent that was difficult to understand.

The state informed Judge Kimberly Hornak that Rossi had not given his correct name or birthdate, and let her know that he had been extradited to Utah.

“Objection, m’lady!” Rossi replied. “That is complete hearsay and I would ask that your ladyship and prosecution show cause for why I am…” before being cut off by Hornak.

Rossi, whose legal name is Nicholas Alahverdian, maintains that he has been framed for allegedly raping a woman in Utah in 2008.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.