First day of Langford trial

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The federal trial of Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford started Monday in Tuscaloosa. Langford faces 60 charges, including bribery and money laundering.

Jury selection got underway 11:00 a.m. on Monday. Jurors arrived at the courthouse around 8:30 a.m. Mayor Langford walked into to courthouse just before 9:00 a.m.

Langford faces 60 charges. They include fraud, bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and filing a false tax report. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Prosecutors accuse Langford of accepting more than 260-thousand dollars in bribes for steering county business to Montgomery businessman Bill Blount.

Langford walked to court accompanied by his wife on Monday morning. He talked briefly about the charges against him before entering the courthouse. "(I'm) Innocent and expecting to be proven so here today. If I told you I was happy I'd be lying, but it's just one of those things," said Langford. When asked if he felt confident, Langford replied, "Yeah sure, absolutely."

Close to a hundred potential jurors from west Alabama are being questioned by attorneys. By late afternoon, the number could be cut to 12.

Former u-s attorney Doug Jones believes both sides must keep their messages simple for a jury. Jones suggested how attorneys would handle the case during an appearance this morning on Good Day Alabama. He expects jurors in Tuscaloosa to be seated quickly,
         
Jones says both sides will try to develop a "story line" early. For prosecutors in this case, Jones says it must be simple. He expects prosecutors to call this a "pay for play" case. "We've heard it before. Very simple. Don't get into bonds and all the complications dealing with bonds and Jefferson County. Strictly pay for play. For the defense you do have people who are going to testify who are long time friends," says Jones.

Jones describes Langford's attorney, Mike Rasmussen, as a very good lawyer and strong cross-examiner. He says the lead prosecutor, George Martin, is a very methodical attorney who will try to "connect the dots" for the jury in this case.