Alex Salmond, for years the leading face of the Scottish independence campaign, appeared in court Thursday charged with two counts of attempted rape and multiple sexual assaults.
Addressing reporters outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after a brief hearing, Salmond, 64, insisted he was “innocent of any criminality whatsoever.”
He said he had “great faith” in the judicial system in Scotland and would defend himself “to the utmost” in court.
Prosecutors listed 14 charges in total against Salmond in a statement released after the initial private court appearance.
They comprise two counts of attempted rape, nine counts of sexual assault, two counts of indecent assault and one count of breaching the peace.
According to details provided by the Crown Office, Salmond did not enter a plea and was released on bail.
The charge sheet does not indicate how many alleged victims are involved.
Salmond, the country’s former first minister and ex-leader of the Scottish National Party, declined to answer any questions outside the court, saying he could fall foul of reporting restrictions if he did.
Police in Scotland had been investigating Salmond following an internal inquiry by the Scottish government last year into allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Salmond strenuously denies those claims.
Earlier this month, he won a procedural case against the Scottish government over its handling of an investigation into harassment allegations brought by two women, according to the UK’s Press Association news agency.
Salmond stood down as first minister and SNP leader following defeat in the November 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, which he had long championed. He was replaced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Despite leaving the Scottish parliament, Salmond has remained a prominent figure in both Scottish and British politics, working as a commentator and hosting “The Alex Salmond Show” on Russian state broadcaster RT.