Alex Salmond, Scotland’s former first minister, has been charged with two counts of attempted rape as he faces 14 offences.
In total, he has been charged with two counts of attempted rape, nine counts of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace, the Crown Office said.
After a hearing at Edinburgh Sherrif Court in front of Sheriff Frank Crowe, which lasted less than five minutes, a defiant Mr Salmond, 64, talked outside court to insist he was “innocent of any criminality whatsoever”.
He said: “I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I’ll defend myself to the utmost in court. I’ve got great faith in the court system in Scotland, which is where I’ll defend myself.”
Saying he wanted to say more but was shackled by the legal proceedings, he repeated that in court is where he will defend himself before he returned to the courthouse to talk to his legal team.
The 64-year-old former SNP leader had earlier appeared in private at the court before making a statement outside to the gathered media.
Having pulled up in a car, he shook hands with two men as he made his way into court amid a scrum of journalists.