Scotland's ex-First Minister Alex Salmond charged with attempted rape

The 64-year-old former leader of the ruling Scottish National Party was accused last year of two instances of inappropriate behavior dating back to 2013.
Image: Alex Salmond
Former First Minister Alex Salmond, right, arrives at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.Robert Perry / EPA

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By Saphora Smith

LONDON — A former leader of Scotland appeared in court on Thursday charged with two attempted rapes.

Ex-First Minister Alex Salmond is also accused of indecent assault.

Salmond told reporters he was "innocent of any criminality" as he arrived at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

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"I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court," Salmond said, adding that he was unable to discuss the case for legal reasons.

Salmond, 64, served as the country's first minister for seven years until 2014.

He is a member of the ruling Scottish National Party and was a key proponent of Scottish independence from the U.K. in the 2014 referendum campaign. The country eventually voted decisively to stay — with 55 percent backing remain and 45 percent supporting independence.

Last year, Salmond was accused of two instances of inappropriate behavior dating back to 2013 when he was still the leader of the country's devolved government.

The complaints were made in January in the wake of "wider concerns about harassment" in British politics, the Scottish government's most senior official, Leslie Evans, said in a statement released last August.

Salmond has denied those accusations made against him as well as any criminal conduct.

Earlier this month, he won a legal case against the Scottish government’s handling of its investigation into the harassment claims. The government admitted acting unlawfully while investigating the claims.

His victory was only to do with the fairness of the inquiry. The police investigation into the allegations is separate.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed.