Scotland

Alex Salmond to continue to host weekly RT programme

Alex Salmond Image copyright RT
Image caption Mr Salmond has hosted a weekly show on RT since November 2017

Alex Salmond will continue to host his own television programme despite being charged with attempted rape and sexual assault, BBC Scotland has learned.

Russian broadcaster RT said it would continue to air The Alex Salmond Show.

The former first minister faced 14 charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, also including breach of the peace and indecent assault.

He made no plea during the hearing and outside court he said he was "innocent of any criminality".

The 64-year-old added that he would defend himself "to the utmost".

Mr Salmond has hosted a weekly show on RT since November 2017.

In a statement, the controversial state-funded broadcaster said it was unable to comment on Mr Salmond's court hearing.

But it added: "This matter does not concern anything related to the Alex Salmond Show or RT, and The Alex Salmond Show will continue on-air, as usual, at this time.

"It is important to note, irrespective of the findings on this matter in court, that we believe firmly in the principles of a fair trial, including both the right to justice for victims and the presumption of innocence, and that we utterly condemn sexual misconduct in any form."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Alex Salmond arrived at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday to hear the charges made against him

Police had been investigating following a Scottish government inquiry into complaints of sexual harassment against Mr Salmond.

At court on Thursday, he was accused of two charges of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace.

Speaking outside the court following the hearing, the former MP and MSP said: "Now that these proceedings, criminal proceedings, are live it is important to respect the court.

"And therefore, the only thing I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I'll defend myself to the utmost in court."

No date has yet been fixed for the next hearing in the case.


Alex Salmond's political career

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Salmond was twice leader of the SNP, but quit the party in 2018 after taking legal action against the government
  • He was twice leader of the SNP, and led the party into government at Holyrood in 2007
  • Mr Salmond left office after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, with his former deputy Nicola Sturgeon taking his place in Bute House
  • He returned to Westminster as an MP the following year, but lost his Gordon seat in the snap election in 2017
  • Mr Salmond has since worked as a talk show host on Russian network RT
  • He quit the SNP when launching his legal action against the Scottish government in 2018

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