Birmingham, Ala., Mayor on Trial

Published October 21, 2009

The attorney for Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford, who’s facing multiple felony counts of bribery, conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and tax violations, said his client will not plead guilty, even though two state Democratic leaders already have admitted hooking up with the mayor in illegal activity.

Bill Blount, an investment banker from Montgomery and former Alabama Democratic Party chairman, pleaded guilty in August to paying bribes to Langford; Al LaPierre, a lobbyist and former executive director of the state Democratic Party, also pleaded guilty to being involved in the scheme.

However, defense attorney Michael Rasmussen says Langford "maintains he is innocent and expects to get a fair trial." Jury selection begins Monday.

Prosecutors see things a little differently. The describe the 61-year-old former county commission president as a greedy, power-hungry politician who took nearly a quarter-million dollars in bribes – including an expensive Rolex watch and tailored suits – during before becoming mayor. In return, prosecutors say, Langford steered more than $7 million in bond business to the investment banking firm of a political ally.

Langford says he did nothing wrong. He blames a Republican prosecutor for trumping up the charges to help run him out of office and open the door for a future GOP candidate.

Written by BET.com Staff

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