BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – FBI agents arrested Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford on Monday on a 101-count indictment that includes charges of fraud and money laundering. The 80-page indictment stems from a federal investigation of bond deals involving the Jefferson County sewer system that have left the county billions of dollars in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.
Also charged were investment banker William Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre.
Langford is accused of accepting $235,000 in bribes, including cash and jewelry, from Blount and LaPierre, when Langford was president of the Jefferson County Commission. He allegedly used his influence to pay millions of taxpayer dollars to Blount and LaPierre in the course of the enormous bond deals and swaps.
Prosecutors seek $7 million from each defendant.
Wearing leg shackles, Langford pleaded not guilty Monday morning before U.S. magistrate Judge John Ott. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bond.
LaPierre also pleaded not guilty Monday and was released on $50,000 bond.
Blount surrendered at the federal courthouse just before noon Monday, the Birmingham News reported.
Langford need not resign, despite the indictment, and two council members expressed support for him Monday, in statements to the Birmingham Business Journal.