Alex Salmond appears in court charged with sexual assaults on 10 women
Alex Salmond has appeared in court accused of carrying out a series of sexual offences against 10 women.
The former Scottish first minister faces a total of 14 charges, including one attempted rape, an intent to rape, 10 sexual assaults and two indecent assaults.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between June 2008 and November 2014.
Mr Salmond's trial, which is expected to last four weeks, is due to begin on 9 March next year.
Speaking outside the High Court in Edinburgh, Mr Salmond - who led the Scottish government from May 2007 until November 2014 - said he was innocent and would defend himself "vigorously".
The 64-year-old said: "As I am sure you'll understand I am not permitted to say too much today, save that we've lodged our defence statement with the court.
"It pleads not guilty to all charges and explains some of the circumstances in which they've come about. I am also conscious we are in the middle of a general election campaign and I am not going to say anything that would influence that democratic process.
"We are now into our second year of court actions, first civil and now criminal. So we are 10 months since we won the civil action. I am innocent and I will defend my position vigorously, but the only place - the only proper place - to answer criminal charges is in this court, and that is exactly what we intend to do next spring."
According to the indictment Mr Salmond faces, the attempted rape is alleged to have taken place in June 2014 at Bute House, the first minister's official residence in Edinburgh.
He is also accused of indecently assaulting a woman on a number of occasions in Glasgow in June and July 2008, and of sexually assaulting the same woman in December 2010 or December 2011 in the Ego nightclub in Edinburgh.
Other charges also relate to alleged incidents in Bute House, the Scottish Parliament, Stirling Castle and the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow.
Police launched their investigation following a Scottish government probe into complaints of sexual harassment against Mr Salmond.
He launched a judicial review over how the inquiry was handled, and won his case at the Court of Session.
The Scottish government admitted its procedures had been flawed and paid out more than £500,000 to cover Mr Salmond's legal expenses.
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