Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond was charged with fourteen offences, including two counts of attempted rape, at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday afternoon.
Sexual assault, indecent assault, and attempted rape
Salmond arrived at court at 2pm local time for the closed-door hearing. He was charged with fourteen counts, including two counts of attempted rape, nine counts of sexual assault, two counts of indecent assault, and one count of breach of the peace.
Salmond entered no plea.
Speaking to the media outside the court, Salmond said, “Let me say at the outset, I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever. I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court.
“I’ve got great faith in the court system of Scotland. […] That is where I will state my case.”
No date has been fixed for the next hearing.
The Alex Salmond Show goes on…
A longtime leader of the Scottish National Party, Salmond served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014 while an elected member of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.
In 2014 he was succeeded as First Minister and SNP leader by Nicola Sturgeon in an amicable transition of power. After gaining as seat in the national Westminster parliament in 2015, Salmond was unexpectedly turfed out of politics by Colin Clark of the Scottish Conservatives in the 2017 snap election.
Salmond suddenly found himself without an elected office for the first time in over thirty years. Perhaps because of favorable comments Salmond once made about Russian President Vladimir Putin in a 2014 interview, he was offered employment by Russian state-owned broadcaster Russia Today.
Controversially, he accepted. In November 2017, the Alex Salmond Show aired its first episode, featuring an interview with fellow separatist leader, exiled Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont.
Besides receiving criticism for joining what some called a “Kremlin propaganda network,” the Alex Salmond Show soon found itself criticized for generating fake questions from its viewing audience.
In the first episode, Salmond took questions from the “avalanche of tweets and emails” he said he had received. One tweet was from an account that did not exist, one was not published until after the show had aired, and one was from the show’s director Luisa St John.
Ofcom, the UK’s telecommunications regulator, admonished the show saying:
“Ofcom considered that viewers would have been under the impression that the four questions quoted by Mr Salmond had originated from members of the public wholly unconnected with the programme or with him, when this was not, in fact, the case.
“The failure to disclose this information meant that viewers were misled. Because viewer trust in this current affairs programme would have been undermined, we considered that this was materially misleading.”
The Alex Salmond Show has continued despite the Ofcom ruling. Now it appears that even having its host charged with over a dozen serious charges is not even enough to knock the programme off the air.
Yesterday, the Alex Salmond Show aired as normal on its Thrusday slots, featuring an interview with Danish politician Pia Allerslev.