Update: Feds Arrest Birmingham Mayor on Bribery, Other Charges

By: BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)
By: BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)

Update:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford says he's been overwhelmed with support since his indictment in a federal bribery case, but he won't say how he plans to defend against the charges.

Langford said Tuesday he has received an outpouring of support since he was arrested Monday on a 101-count indictment.

But Langford won't say how he will defend himself against charges of taking about $235,000 in bribes when he was Jefferson County Commission president.

In previous sworn testimony, Langford said lobbyist Al LaPierre paid off a personal loan for him as a friend. Prosecutors say LaPierre was paying bribes in a conspiracy with Langford and Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount, whose firm made millions on county bond work.

All three men pleaded not guilty.

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Update:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The mayor of Alabama's largest city has been arrested on federal bribery and fraud charges.

Federal prosecutors in Birmingham say they have charged Larry Langford and two other men in a 101-count indictment. The charges stem from a multibillion-dollar sewer bond deal that has driven the surrounding county to the brink of bankruptcy. Jefferson County is trying to avoid filing what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Among other things, Langford is accused of receiving $230,000 in bribes. Other charges include money laundering and filing false tax returns.

Langford appeared in federal court today in leg irons, and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Langford has become known for a series of colorful stunts since taking office last year.

He once entered a business meeting along with two police officers carrying submachine guns, as a way of stirring interest in his "top secret" finance plans. He's also announced a long shot bid to bring the 2020 Olympics to Birmingham.

Critics have dubbed the former promoter and TV reporter "Mayor LaLa."

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Update: 1:53 p.m.
The FBI says the mayor of Birmingham, Ala. has been arrested on federal charges.

FBI Spokesman Paul Daymond said Larry Langford was taken into custody around 7 a.m. on Monday. It isn't immediately clear what charges he faces.

Authorities are planning to say more at a morning news conference.

Langford was president of the Jefferson County Commission before he was elected mayor last year. He's been accused in a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit of taking more than $156,000 from a friend whose firm made millions on risky bond transactions that has pushed the state's largest county to the brink of bankruptcy.

Langford has denied wrongdoing

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Posted: 9:49 AM 12/01/08
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford reportedly has been arrested on federal charges. And a Langford friend who is a lobbyist plans to surrender.

Television station WBRC and The Birmingham News report that Langford was taken into custody by the FBI.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin declines to comment but says a news conference will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in Birmingham.

Langford has said previously that he would not be suprised if he was indicted in a probe of alleged sweetheart deals involving bond sales when he was a Jefferson County commissioner.

A lobbyist, Al LaPierre, also was a figure in the probe. His attorney, Tommy Spinga, says he will surrender Monday. Details of any charges were not immediately available.

An attorney for Langford, Thomas Baddley, is expected to release a statement later Monday.


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