BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford heads to court today to face federal corruption charges that could send him to jail for the rest of his life.
Langford faces more than 50 counts of fraud, bribery, conspiracy and money laundering, stemming from his days as president of the Jefferson County Commission, when a multibillion-dollar sewer bond fiasco began that has driven the county to the verge of bankruptcy.
Langford is accused of taking $235,000 in money and gifts from investment banker Bill Blount in exchange for help in awarding county business to Blount’s company, including sales of sewer bonds. Blount’s investment bank was awarded $7.1 million in fees during this time.
Blount was also named in the indictment, along with lobbyist Al LaPierre. Prosecutors say Langford threw sewer bond work to Blount’s firm in exchange for kickbacks, some of which were delivered by LaPierre.
Blount and LaPierre both have pleaded guilty and have agreed to testify against Langford. The mayor’s trial was moved from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa District Court due to publicity in the case.
Langford is represented by Michael Rasmussen.