Former Scottish leader Alex Salmond was acquitted Monday of a series of sexual offenses, including one of attempted rape. An Edinburgh jury deliberated for more than five hours before returning not guilty verdicts on 12 charges and returned a not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape, the AP reports. Three verdicts were available to the jurors, who had started their deliberations on Friday afternoon following the one-day trial—guilty, not guilty, and not proven. The latter two are considered acquittals under Scottish law. Salmond, 65, had denied all 13 alleged offenses and had claimed in court that some of the charges were "deliberate fabrications for a political purpose."
The nine women who brought the charges forward either worked for the Scottish government or within Salmond’s Scottish National Party at the time the offenses were alleged to have taken place. The allegations spanned a period between June 2008 and Nov. 2014. 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. After leaving the High Court, Salmond thanked his family and friends for standing by him and said "certain evidence" that wasn't presented in court will one day "see the light." Salmond led the pro-independence SNP for 20 years and headed Scotland’s semi-autonomous government as its first minister from 2007 to 2014.
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