Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has denied committing any crimes after he appeared in court charged with multiple sex offences including two counts of attempted rape.
Scottish prosecutors said Salmond (64) had also been charged with nine counts of sexual assault, two counts of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace.
"I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever," Salmond, a figurehead of Scotland's independence movement, told reporters outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
"I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court.
"I would love to say a great deal more, but I've got to observe the rules of the court."
Salmond was released on bail, and it was not disclosed when further hearings would take place.
The combative politician led the devolved Scottish government for seven years until 2014.
As leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), he helped drive growing support for independence, but Scotland ultimately voted to stay part of the UK in a 2014 referendum.
Earlier this month, Salmond won a judicial review against the Scottish government over how it handled a complaints process against him in a sexual harassment case.