Langford deposition to SEC read in trial

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Jurors in the Larry Langford trial heard testimony Monday about the Birmingham mayor's financial problems as prosecutors detailed the money trail between him and his co-defendants.

Prosecutors called several witnesses to the stand Monday to detail bank statements and debts owed by Langford during his tenure as president of the Jefferson County Commission.  Prosecutors claim Langford steered county business deals through Montgomery businessman Bill Blount, who then returned the favor by sending cash and gifts back to Langford through Democrat lobbyist Al LaPierre.

One of the people who testified Monday was Norm Davis, former lead financial advisor to Jefferson County from NBC Bank, now known as RBC Bank. Davis testified about Langford's low credit score and liabilities of nearly $650,000, including a $280,000 mortgage, $92,000 in car loans and more than $200,000 in credit card debt.

Also testifying Monday afternoon: Leo Shaia of Shaia's clothing store, who said Langford bought lots of suits, sportcoats, leather jackets, and shoes.  Shaia also testified Langford paid $12,000 on a charge account in June 2003 using a cashier's check from Compass Bank.

Keith Anderson from BBVA Compass then testified about Langford's bank statements, which showed Langford making large cash deposits.  Jurors took detailed notes as the bank statements were presented.

Earlier in the day, the jury in the bribery trial of Larry Langford finally heard from Langford himself through the reading of his deposition to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the deposition, Langford talked about his loan from Colonial Bank and said he never had any financial dealings with Bill Blount. He also claimed he paid for the suits and gifts from New York City by himself and said that Blount might have bought him a birthday gift.

According the deposition, Langford said he bought more items for Blount than Blount bought for Langford and said he recommended Bill Blount to look at the bond deals, but said he never told the underwriters to hire anybody.

After the deposition reading Monday morning, Keith Nelson took the stand to testify. Nelson was one of Langford's business partners in the acquisition of a piece of land in Hoover. In his testimony, Nelson described the events leading up to the purchase of a piece of land in Hoover and said that Larry Langford was the only partner who did not contribute financially to the deal. Due to an interest-only loan, each partner in the deal should have been paying $600 to $1,200 a month on the loan.  Nelson added that other partners made the payments for Langford, but this statement was stricken from the record due to objections.

Around 11:00 a.m., Kelly O'Donnell from NBC Bank, now RBC Bank, took the stand. O'Donnell was a financial advisor for NBC when the bank was still the financial advisor to Jefferson County before being fired in August of 2005.  In her testimony, O'Donnell says she did not know that Bill Blount was being paid fees on swap deals and only found out about that much later. As for Blount's role in the deals, O'Donnell says she does not know where Blount would fit in to the deals.

Last week the prosecution put key witnesses, Bill Blount and Al LaPeirre, on the stand. Bill Blount testified Thursday that he bribed Larry Langford with cash, clothes and gifts in exchange for county business. "I bribed Larry Langford by providing cash through LaPierre and gifts like clothes," Blount said. "I wanted to keep Larry Langford happy, avoid scandal, and make sure Blount Parrish (Blount's company) was in on as many deals as possible."

The defense is expected to get their turn to put on it's case early this week. The Dean of Cumberland Law School John Carroll says there is a chance that Langford's attorneys may not even put on a case, "most of the evidence is undisputed, it may be that the defense simply says, look the government hasn't proved anything and we aren't going to put on any evidence. They have listed character witnesses they may put on, but they may not be effective, this weekend they are assessing where they are"

The trial could go to the jury by the end of this week.