Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond charged with two counts of attempted rape and multiple sexual assaults
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Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond charged with two counts of attempted rape and multiple sexual assaults

FORMER First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has been charged by police with two charges of attempted rape, nine charges of sexual assault, two charges of indecent assault and one charge of breach of the peace.

The 64-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court this afternoon after being arrested by Police Scotland last night.

The case was continued for further examination and the former Scottish National Party (SNP) leader was released on bail.

Speaking outside court following his hearing, Mr Salmond said: "I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality, and I'll defend myself to the utmost in court".

He added: "Let me say from the outset, I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever.

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"Now that these proceedings, criminal proceedings, are live, it is even more important to respect the court. And therefore, the only thing that I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court.

"I’ve got great faith in the court system in Scotland."

Earlier this month, Salmond won legal action against the Scottish Government over their handling of an investigation into complaints of sexual harassment made against him.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's government had begun investigating complaints made by two women dating back to 2013 in January last year.

Mr Salmond took legal action last August, and was able to prove that the government's probe was unfair as their investigator spoke to the women weeks before they formally complained.

Scotland's highest court found the devolved government had acted "unlawfully in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias" on January 8.

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Mr Salmond was Scotland's longest serving First Minister, having led the devolved Scottish government for seven years from 2007 until 2014.

He stepped down in 2014 after pushing support for the SNP to record levels during a referendum campaign which ultimately failed to achieve Scottish independence.