Birmingham News (Alabama), October 28, 2009
Larry Langford, Birmingham’s mayor and a former Jefferson County commissioner, has been found guilty in his federal bribery trial.
Langford, who is 61 or 63, was found guilty of taking about $236,000 in cash and gifts from Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre.
Both pleaded guilty in the case and testified they made cash payments to Langford while he was the president of the Jefferson County Commission to ensure business for Blount’s investment bank, Blount Parrish & Co.
“All this trial did was interrupt my Bible study classes for two weeks,” he [Langford] said, adding he faces a potential sentence of 805 years. He said if he lived to be 80, he would have to die and “come back 10 more times” to serve such a sentence.
Judge Scott Coogler decided Langford would forfeit $241,843. The lawyers agreed.
Coogler ordered a sentencing report within 90 to 120 days and said Langford would remain free until then on the existing $50,000 unsecured bond.
Birmingham City Council President Carole Smitherman is now mayor of Alabama’s largest city.
State Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, disagreed, saying she was shocked by the verdict and feared it would hurt Birmingham, Jefferson County and the state of Alabama.
“It is a very sad day for Birmingham. This is going to set us back, I think. I look at all the progress that’s been made. I look at all the projects on the books,” Coleman said. “I saw a new hope for Birmingham. I’m just really saddened. I don’t see how anybody how anybody could find any joy in this.”
State Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, said he’s known Langford for many years and that he’s a good-hearted person.