LONDON (AP) — Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond denounced some of the sex-crimes charges against him as “deliberate fabrications for a political purpose” as he began giving evidence at his trial on Tuesday.
Salmond told the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday that he had a “consensual sexual liaison” with a woman who alleges he tried to rape her.
Salmond, 65, denies 13 sex-crime allegations against nine women. One charge by another woman was dropped Monday.
A former Scottish government official, who is being referred to as Woman H, previously told the court she felt “hunted” by Salmond moments before an alleged attempted rape in the first minister’s official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh, in June 2014. She also said she had been sexually assaulted by him the previous month when he allegedly kissed her face, neck and touched her legs.
Salmond said no incidents took place during those months, but that there had been a “sexual encounter” in the previous year following a dinner and that “one thing led to another.”
A major figure on the Scottish political stage for decades, he took Scotland to the verge of independence from the U.K. by holding a 2014 referendum on separation. He stepped down as leader after the “remain” side won the vote 55% to 45%.
The trial, which began March 9, is expected to last four weeks.