Appeals Court Upholds Former Birmingham Mayor and Jefferson County Commission President’s Convictions
BIRMINGHAM -- The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today upheld the 2009 conviction of former Jefferson County Commission president and Birmingham mayor Larry Langford on all counts related to a long-running bribery scheme in which he sent more than $7 million in county bond business to Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount in return for bribes worth $241,843, announced First Assistant U.S. Attorney John England.
A federal jury in Tuscaloosa convicted Langford in October 2009 on 61 bribery, money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud and income tax counts charged in the case. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence.
A three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit rejected Langford’s arguments of insufficient evidence and evidence improperly admitted, including income tax records that included references to gambling winnings. The appeals panel also rejected Langford’s claim that his trial should have been moved from Tuscaloosa to somewhere outside the Northern District of Alabama.
“Public officials are not above the law, and corruption among them will not be tolerated,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney John England. “Langford’s willingness to seek and accept bribes in order to dole out county business helped bring Jefferson County to the brink of financial ruin. The appeals court noted that the evidence of Langford’s guilt in accepting bribes was ‘overwhelming.’ The court’s ruling also affirmed the government’s position that a public official who secretly accepts bribes is defrauding the public by robbing it of its expectation of honest services,” England said.
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