Man accused of rape, faking death, says he’s someone else

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — Is he Arthur Knight — a modest-living Scottish man caught up in a most unfortunate case of mistaken identity? Or, is he Nicholas Alahverdian — a registered sex offender accused of brutally raping a woman in 2008, then faking his own death to avoid consequences.

That is the question facing Utah authorities who believe they have found Alahverdian, a man once believed to be dead, hiding out in Britain under the name Arthur Knight. Knight, or at least the man who claims to be Knight, says this is all a big misunderstanding and he is absolutely not Nicholas Alahverdian.

So what is the truth? Did the police indeed find a vicious rapist hiding in Scotland after faking his own death? Or have they instead tabbed an average Scottish man as being someone he is not?

The unfolding of the story itself however is far from average. It is a narrative that includes possibly faked cancer deaths, a eulogy for a convicted sex offender at a state capitol, a COVID-19 hospitalization and accusations of cannibalism and murder.

NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live” explored all of the twists, turns and intricacies of this baffling and bizarre happening.


Alahverdian first rose to prominence as an up-and-coming political player in Rhode Island who gained notoriety campaigning for children’s rights.

He was a product of the Rhode Island foster care system, claiming to have spent his entire childhood bouncing between group homes in Rhode Island, Florida and Nebraska.

He says he was both physically and sexually abused during his time in the foster care system and therefore as an adult dedicated his life to protecting children from the same abuses.

“You’re worst nightmare, multiply by 5,000,” Alahverdian said of his foster care experience in an old interview. “There were rapes, there were beatings. Incredibly, incredibly despicable.”

Alahverdian’s story inspired state lawmakers in Rhode Island to pass three bills that overhauled the state care of children in the foster care system.

Then, at the age of 32, tragedy appeared to strike. Alahverdian informed, friends, family and colleagues he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Two months later in February, 2020, he died.

Or so everyone thought.

A glowing obituary was written about Alahverdian, and his friends at the statehouse eulogized him.

The newspaper that published the obituary has since said it is inaccurate. They repeatedly asked for a death certificate on Nicholas Alahverdian they never received.


This February, a shocking twist came in Alahverdian’s story, and ultimately, the story of whoever Arthur Knight may be.

Police believed they had Alahverdian, who at this point was going by Arthur Knight, in custody in Scotland.

It turned out this once-praised crusader for children’s rights was wanted in Utah for the brutal rape of a woman in 2008.

Alahverdian, unbeknownst to anyone in Rhode Island, had been convicted of a misdemeanor sexual assault in Ohio in 2008. Later that same year, prosecutors say he brutally raped and beat a Utah woman who he owed money to.

A rape kit testing backlog in Utah led to the rape kit from the 2008 case not being tested until 2017. When it was, the DNA came back to match Alahverdian. In 2019, Alahverdian learned the FBI was on to him. Soon after, he told his attorney he moved to Ireland.

In 2020, Alahverdian informed all his friends and colleagues in Rhode Island he was dying of cancer.

When Alahverdian was allegedly found in Scotland, this time he actually was on the verge of death, hooked up to a ventilator with a severe case of COVID-19.

Except the man dying in that hospital bed, who police believed was a man who committed a violent rape and other sexual crimes, said he was not Alahverdian at all. He was in fact Arthur Knight, a common Scottish man.

However, INTERPOL used DNA in the hospital to identify him as Alahverdian and police were able to match tattoos on Knight to Alahverdian as well.

Knight and his lawyers say no such evidence exists and the prosecutors in this case are “liars.”

Lance Bastian, the lawyer representing Arthur Knight, says their side is still missing evidence.

“I’ve never seen the DNA test results they claim to have, I’ve never seen any of this evidence they say ties him to this,” Bastian said. “One, he doesn’t have any burden to show this, certainly to the media, and he doesn’t have a burden to show this in court.”

Alahverdian’s uncle, Michael Alahverdian, who planned Nicholas’ funeral, used to be convinced Knight was his nephew Nicholas. Now, he is not so sure.

“I’ve seen different videos of him and he’s actually showed his arms in one without the tattoos, and he was known for the tattoos on his arm,” Michael Alahverdian said. “There’s a lot of characteristics he has as I remember him, but there’s a lot of differences also.”

Michael Alahverdian says he has not spoken to Nicholas since 2017, but the loss of his nephew still shook him.

“I grieved for him…I thought he was dead,” Michael Alahverdian said. “Up until Jan. 12 of this year, and it happened to be the same day I buried my brother, his biological father.”

Bastian maintains his client’s innocence.

“Why they selected Mr. Knight in particular, I don’t know,” Bastian said. “What I do know is Mr. Knight is Arthur Knight. He is a British citizen, he was born in Ireland. He has lived most of his life in England.”

Alahverdian, or Knight, whichever name best fits the man, was arrested by police, released on bail, then arrested again when he missed an extradition hearing. He has since started a media tour professing his innocence and identity as Arthur Knight.


Knight’s media tour has included him appearing alongside a woman he claims is his wife and unsuccessful attempts to stand up from his wheelchair.

But perhaps the largest piece of information delivered by Knight in this case was the accusation that David Leavitt, the prosecutor in Utah building evidence against him, is a child sex predator who eats people.

It may sound like a crazy accusation that a prosecutor is secretly in a child sex trafficking ring that eats its victims, but it didn’t sound all too crazy to the Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith who is now investigating the claim.

Smith claims that Leavitt is using his power as a prosecutor to intimidate victims in a ritualistic child sex abuse case. In 2012, Leavitt and his wife were named in a 151-page victims report, which alleged they sexually abused children, however they were never charged and the prosecutor of the case did not consider the allegation credible enough to investigate.

“It’s all fabricated lies,” Leavitt said. “It was discredited more than a dozen years ago by the sitting county attorney and it’s just absolutely ridiculous.”

Leavitt said the real story here is not about Arthur Knight, it is about Sheriff Mike Smith and former prosecutors from Leavitt’s office “conspiring” against him to shift the outcome of an upcoming election.

Bastian, Knight’s current lawyer, and another lawyer working with Smith and Knight are both former employees in Leavitt’s office.

Bastian says that Leavitt is trying to make Knight’s trial into a media show.

“David Leavitt wants to try this case in the court of public opinion and there’s a reason we don’t do that,” Bastian said. “We try cases in a court of law because evidence in a court of law before it gets submitted has to be vetted, it has to be scrutinized by people on both sides.”

Bastian claims Knight has indeed shown him “documentation” that proves he is who he says he is. He has not shown any reporter a birth certificate.

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