Former Scottish first minister and pro-independence figurehead Alex Salmond leaves a preliminary hearing over sexual assault allegations (Picture:
Alex Salmond denies trying to rape a woman at the official residence of the first minister of Scotland during the independence referendum campaign.
The former first minister, 64, is said to have kissed and groped the woman at Bute House during the historic vote in 2014.
He is then alleged to have pinned her against a wall before pulling at her clothes, stripping his own off and attempting to rape her on a bed.
Salmond appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday where he denied 14 offences against 10 women.
They include a charge of attempted rape, 11 of sexual assault – including one with intent to rape – and two of indecent assault dating between 2008 and 2014, with one assault said to have taken place in the month of the referendum.
The former MP also forced a woman to lie on his bed at the residence before pulling up her dress with intent to rape her, it is claimed.
Both incidents were said to have taken place between the date of the Edinburgh Agreement in 2012 and the day of the independence vote in September 2014.
The first of the charges involved incidents where Salmond is said to have indecently assaulted a woman by kissing her mouth and groping her on various occasions around Glasgow in the summer of 2008.
He is also accused of sexually assaulted a woman on various occasions between 2011 and 2013 at the Scottish Parliament, Bute House and other locations by touching her bottom and stroking other parts of her body.
Several charges involved the accused allegedly groping women, including one incident at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow in the spring of 2012.
Salmond – who was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014 – is also said to have taken off a woman’s shoe and trying to kiss her foot in late 2013.
He is also accused of grabbing a woman by her shoulders at Bute House in 2014, repeatedly kissing her face, trying to kiss her lips and touching her leg.
Gordon Jackson QC, representing Salmond, said he denied the allegations.
Judge Lady Dorrian continued the preliminary hearing until January 22 and set a trial date for March 9, which is expected to last four weeks.
Speaking outside court after the hearing, Mr Salmond said he would defend himself ‘vigorously’ during the trial.
‘The only proper place to answer criminal charges is in this court and that is exactly what I intend to do next spring,’ he said.