A rape suspect who is alleged to have faked his own death in the US has denied lying as his extradition battle got under way in Edinburgh.
US authorities want Nicholas Rossi removed from the UK to face sex charges in the state of Utah.
The 35-year-old – who is accused of setting up a bogus memorial to mark his own death – has claimed he is an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight and not a US citizen.
It is alleged he fled to the UK to dodge prosecution.
But last November, after months of hearings, a Scottish court ruled that he was the man American authorities have been attempting to track down.
Rossi was discovered via an international law enforcement red notice inside a COVID ward in Glasgow in 2021 where he was arrested.
He suggested his body had been tattooed by a rogue NHS employee while he was unconscious in the hospital, in an attempt to create doubt that his body art was an identical match to that on a worldwide police red notice.
The claims were branded “implausible and scandalous” by a sheriff.
On Monday, the official process to attempt to extradite Rossi finally began in Edinburgh.
Rossi arrived at court in a wheelchair wearing black legal robes.
The day was marred by legal arguments over whether proceedings should be abandoned after it emerged police in Essex are attempting to question the accused in connection with a historic rape allegation.
Rossi’s lawyer, Mungo Bovey KC, urged the extradition hearing to be scrapped – citing a recent decision to move him to a prison south of the border so that English police can question him about an alleged rape there.
Mr Bovey argued it would be wrong to press ahead with the hearing then, potentially, set terms for Rossi’s extradition to the US based on his current medical condition before knowing whether he would be charged in England.
He said should charges be brought and proven, then Rossi could end up serving a custodial sentence in England during which his health could deteriorate before being extradited under the terms set in Edinburgh when he was in better health.
Advocate depute Alan Cameron argued the extradition hearing ought to continue, however, saying Mr Bovey’s argument rested on possibilities.
Sheriff Norman McFadyen threw out the application to defer the case.
Rossi later took to the stand and suggested the initial police arrest process was flawed amid claims he was not served a crucial National Crime Agency document.
The court heard from a police constable who recalled delivering that paper to Rossi in his hospital bed. Rossi denied he ever received it.
Prosecutor Mr Cameron said: “You are not telling the truth. You are lying.”
Rossi, who continues to insist he is Arthur Knight, responded: “That is not true.”
The extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court is expected to last five days.