SCOTLAND’S prosecution service is to be ordered to release material Alex Salmond claims will show he was the victim of a high-level plot to destroy him.

The Holyrood inquiry into the Salmond affair is to use the parliament’s power to compel the production of documents held by the Crown Office.

MSPs want to see all the correspondence it holds between three senior SNP officials, including Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, and the First Minister’s top Government aide.

The inquiry has already used its powers to obtain text and WhatsApp messages obtained by Mr Salmond’s defence team for his criminal trial last year, which MSPs chose not to publish.

However Mr Salmond has claimed the Crown Office has held back material which would support his explosive claim of a plot by SNP figures to ruin and even jail him.

He claims the Crown Office has done so to shield "some of the most powerful people in the country".

In written evidence to the inquiry, Mr Salmond singled out Ms Sturgeon’s husband, the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, the party’s chief operating officer Susan Ruddick, its compliance officer Ian McCann, and Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff Liz Lloyd.

Mr Salmond said the four had been part of “a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned”.

Mr Salmond tried to have some of the material put before the jury at his criminal trial last year, but was prevented from doing so for legal reasons.

He was also threatened with prosecution by the Crown Office if he shared it with the inquiry, as it was given to his lawyers purely for the preparation of his defence.

READ MORE: MSPs to question Lord Advocate James Wolffe over censored Salmond evidence

In preliminary pre-trial hearings, Mr Salmond's lawyers alluded to a large cache of messages recovered from Ms Ruddick's phone.

The inquiry also decided today to recall the head of the Crown Office, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, to give further evidence under oath.

It also decided to asked the parliament to approach the High Court for a definitive ruling on whether some of Mr Salmond’s evidence would breach a court order relating to his trial.

On Monday, the parliament’s cross-party management body, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) published evidence from Mr Salmond in which he accused Ms Sturgeon of repeatedly misleading parliament - a resignation offence she denies.

However it then redacted it after the Crown Office raised “grave concerns” about a breach of the court order, leading to claims it was “strong-arming” parliament to protect Ms Sturgeon

Most of the SNP MSPs on the inquiry opposed all of the above decisions, although SNP convener Linda Fabiani did support approaching the SPCB about a court ruling.

The developments emerged after Ms Sturgeon challenged Mr Salmond to produce proof to back up claims of a plot against him, saying he preferred an "alternative reality" of conspiracy theories rather than accept there had been issues with his "behaviour" towards women.

Meanwhile, the Lord Advocate has told MSPs he was out of the loop when his department urged the censoring of Mr Salmond’s evidence to the inquiry.

Mr Wolffe said he only got a copy of a controversial letter from the Crown Office, the department he heads, after it was sent to the parliament for his "information".

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon denies leaning on Crown Office over censored Alex Salmond evidence

Mr Wolffe, who is also a member of the Scottish cabinet, was answering an urgent question amid claims the Crown Office had “strong armed” the parliament to protect Ms Sturgeon.

In her urgent question to the Lord Advocate, Labour MSP Jackie Baillie asked if he was consulted on the Crown Office letter to the parliament about Mr Salmond’s evidence.

Mr Wolffe, a former Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: “No, I was not. The decisions in relation to this matter were made by senior professional prosecutors acting independently, as they always do, without reference to the law officers [the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General]."

The inquiry is looking at how the Scottish Government bungled a probe into sexual misconduct claims made against Mr Salmond in 2018.

He had the exercise set aside in a judicial review, showing it was “tainted by apparent bias”, a Government flaw that left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his costs.

READ MORE: Sturgeon says Salmond prefers 'alternative reality' of conspiracy to confronting his own behaviour

He was later charged with sexual assault but cleared of all counts at a High Court trial last March.

He has claimed the prosecution was driven by people close to Ms Sturgeon who resented his victory in the civil case and wanted to damage him and remove from public life, "even to the extent of having me imprisoned".

Ms Sturgeon today launched a withering personal attack on her predecessor, accusing him of creating an “alternative reality” in which he is the victim of a vast conspiracy, rather than confronting his own demons. 

The First Minister suggested a fantasy was easier for Mr Salmond to accept than his own “behaviour” with women being at the root of some of his troubles.

At the daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon was asked about Mr Salmond’s claim that the Crown Office was withholding evidence that would support his claim of a conspiracy to ruin him, and thereby “shielding of some of the most powerful people in the country”. 

She was asked: “Have the tools of the State been used to protect your reputation?” 

The First Minister replied: “Absolutely, emphatically not, and there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that is the case.

"And Alex Salmond, well, you know, maybe creating an alternative reality in which the organs of the state, not just me and the SNP and the civil service and the Crown Office and the police and women who came forward, were all part of some wild conspiracy against him for reasons I can't explain, maybe that's easier than just accepting that at the root of all this might just have been issues in his own behaviour.

“But that's for him to explain if he ever decides to pitch up and sit in front of the committee."