The furious First Minister also said it was “downright wrong” to suggest the Crown Office’s intervention in the redaction of his evidence was politically influenced. Mr Salmond was due to speak yesterday to the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation of sexual harassment claims against him.
But the former SNP leader delayed his appearance after his written statement was pulled from the parliament’s website and heavily redacted.
That followed an intervention from Scotland’s prosecution service over concerns it could identify a complainant in the criminal case against Mr Salmond.
He will now appear tomorrow to flesh out his claims that Ms Sturgeon misled parliament and broke the ministerial code, which could force her to resign just weeks before an election.
He will claim her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, led a cabal of SNP and Scottish Government figures in a “malicious and concerted” plot to get him jailed.
Asked about the saga at the daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said: “Any suggestion that these decisions are in any way politically influenced are downright wrong. They start to buy into what is a false and quite dangerous conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.”
Ms Sturgeon repeated her assertion that there is not “a shred of evidence” to support her former mentor’s version of events.
She said she was keen to get before the committee to rebut “some of the wild, untrue, false and baseless claims”. Scotland’s top law officer said he was not consulted on the Crown Office decision to intervene.
Lord Advocate James Wolffe – who is in Ms Sturgeon’s Cabinet – said the decision was made by “senior professional prosecutors” independently.
The probe on Mr Salmond was found to have “apparent bias” because the investigator had prior contact with two women complainants.
Mr Salmond, who was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault in a criminal trial, was awarded a £512,250 payout after a judicial review at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The inquiry was set up to examine what went wrong but now threatens to topple Ms Sturgeon’s government.
At Westminster, senior Tory backbencher Liam Fox called for Parliament to step in to “ensure the conduct of the Scottish Government does not bring politics in the whole of the UK into international disrepute”.