THE First Minister has said the Scottish Government will “robustly” defend itself in the legal case brought by Alex Salmond.

Humza Yousaf was speaking at a press conference at the British-Irish Council in Dublin on Friday, where he initially refused to be drawn on the matter.

However, he added: “Unsurprisingly to anyone listening or watching, the Scottish Government will defend its position robustly, but I’ll say no more because that’s a live case.”

The Scottish Government has also said it would not be commenting on "live litigation".

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon (below) may face questioning in court over the action, which Salmond confirmed he had launched in a statement on Friday afternoon.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon addressed journalists at Holyrood on Tuesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A statement from Salmond’s lawyer confirmed his successor Sturgeon and former permanent secretary Leslie Evans are named among those accused of “misfeasance”.

In a statement released to the media, Salmond said throughout the “tawdry business”, which has included a judicial review, a criminal trial and a Holyrood inquiry, he has “done my talking in court or in front of Parliament”, and will continue to do so.

The former SNP leader – who was first minister between 2007 and 2014 – was investigated by the Scottish Government after two complaints from staff were made under a new complaints procedure which included former ministers.

The investigation was deemed by a judicial review to have been “tainted with apparent bias” after the Scottish Government conceded defeat and Salmond was awarded £512,000 as a result.

His statement went on: “Despite Lord Pentland’s findings in the Court of Session that the behaviour of the former permanent secretary and her officials was ‘unlawful’, ‘unfair’ and ‘tainted by apparent bias’, despite the ongoing police and Crown Office inquiries into the criminal leaks and potential perjury at the criminal trial, despite the astonishing revelations of misfeasance contained in the eventual publication of the Government’s own legal advice, and despite the specific findings of the parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the former permanent secretary and the former first minister, not one single person has been held accountable.

“With this court action, that evasion of responsibility ends.”

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Salmond was subsequently cleared of 13 charges of sexual misconduct – including attempted rape – following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The case put forward this week by Salmond, his lawyer said, includes the “soliciting of false criminal complaints”.

It follows a protracted Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of the original two complaints, which called both Salmond and Sturgeon to give evidence.

During the inquiry, Salmond condemned Evans – Scotland’s former top civil servant – accusing her of having a “bias” against him and calling for her resignation.

In March 2021 – just days before he announced he was the leader of the fledgling Alba Party – Salmond confirmed his intention to take legal action against Evans.

The inquiry, which worsened an already sour relationship between Salmond and Sturgeon – who had previously been close – found Sturgeon misled MSPs in her evidence, but she was cleared of any breaches of the ministerial code.

The former first minister said he would delay the progression of the case – known as sisting – to allow police and Crown Office investigations to take place.

But he concluded: “However, the calling of the action signals that the day of reckoning for the Scottish Government’s record of misfeasance on this grand scale will inevitably come.”

The National: Alex Salmond will address the Alba Party conference on Saturday

Salmond’s lawyer, Gordon Dangerfield, said the case accuses Government officials of conducting themselves “improperly, in bad faith and beyond their powers, with the intention of injuring Salmond”.

He said: “We aver that public officials decided at an early stage that Mr Salmond was to be found guilty of allegations against him, regardless of the actual facts.

“As events snowballed, we aver that public officials then took part in the criminal leaking of confidential documents, the concealment of documents in defiance of court orders and a criminal warrant, the misleading of the court during judicial review proceedings, the soliciting of false criminal complaints, and ultimately the commission of perjury at a parliamentary inquiry.

“All of this, we aver, was done for political reasons, and specifically to injure Mr Salmond.”

The case also includes accusations the Scottish Government “concealed” documents relating to the issue, adding a “major aim” of Salmond is to “obtain disclosure of this vital evidence and to blow apart the Scottish Government cover-up which has gone on now for far too long”.