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Scotland's ex-leader Alex Salmond charged with attempted rape, sexual assault

Pro-independence figurehead denied two counts of attempted rape and nine counts of sexual assault.

Thursday 24 January, 2019
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond comes out to address the media outside court in Edinburgh on January 24, 2019, after being charged in a probe over allegations of sexual harassment and attempted rape.
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond comes out to address the media outside court in Edinburgh on January 24, 2019, after being charged in a probe over allegations of sexual harassment and attempted rape. Foto:ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

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Former Scottish leader and pro-independence figurehead Alex Salmond has been charged with two counts of attempted rape and nine counts of sexual assault, the Scottish Prosecutor's Office said on Thursday.

In a brief statement outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Salmond – one of the country's best-known politicians – said: "I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever."

"I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court," he said.

Salmond was arrested Wednesday, and faces 14 charges including nine counts of sexual assault and two of attempted rape.

The ex- first minister stepped down as leader of the governing Scottish National Party (SNP) in August after sexual harassment allegations were made by two women. He denied any wrongdoing and sued the Scottish government over its handling of the claims.

Scotland's highest civil court ruled earlier this month that the way the Scottish government handled the allegations against Salmond was unlawful, but that didn't derail the police investigation.

Salmond led the pro-independence SNP for 20 years and headed Scotland's semi-autonomous government as first minister, from 2007 to 2014. A big figure on the Scottish political stage for decades, he led the 2014 referendum campaign for Scottish independence — a vote won by the "remain" side.

- TIMES/AFP/AP

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