Ex-Scottish leader acquitted on all sex-crimes charges

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond leaving the High Court after the first day of his trial over accusations of sexual assault,  in Edinburgh ...
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court for the first day of his trial, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Monday, March 9, 2020. S...
Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, centre, leaves the High Court after the tenth day of his trial where he is accused of a total of 13 alleg...
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court for the first day of his trial, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Monday, March 9, 2020. S...

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond leaving the High Court after the first day of his trial over accusations of sexual assault, in Edinburgh ...

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court for the first day of his trial, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Monday, March 9, 2020. S...

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, centre, leaves the High Court after the tenth day of his trial where he is accused of a total of 13 alleg...

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court for the first day of his trial, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Monday, March 9, 2020. S...

A jury on Monday cleared former Scottish leader Alex Salmond of all sex-crimes charges he was facing in an Edinburgh court.

Jurors had retired to consider their verdicts on Friday.

Salmond, 65, denied all 13 alleged sexual offenses, including one of attempted rape, against nine women. The women either worked for the Scottish government or within Salmond’s Scottish National Party at the time the offenses are alleged to have taken place.

The accusations ranged from Salmond stroking a civil servant’s hair to trying to rape a former Scottish government official in the leader’s official residence in Edinburgh.

Salmond led the pro-independence Scottish National Party for 20 years and headed Scotland’s semi-autonomous government as its first minister from 2007 to 2014.

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%.