Larry Langford: "It's not over"

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford declared Friday he would continue to appeal his conviction on federal conspiracy and bribery charges.

Langford emerged from the federal courthouse in Tuscaloosa Friday afternoon, surrounded by his wife, family and friends. He briefly spoke to reporters, telling them, "it's not over."

"We will appeal," Langford said.

U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler sentenced Langford to 15 years in prison Friday for his role in a bribery scheme during his tenure as president of the Jefferson County Commission.  Langford said he "felt pretty good" and was looking forward to going home and spending time with his family before reporting to prison next month.

Prosecutors said they were happy with the judge's decision.

Langford was convicted last October on 60 felony charges of bribery and conspiracy that took place while he was president of the Jefferson County Commission. Prosecutors said Langford sent more than $7 million in county bond business to Bill Blount's investment banking firm.  Langford, in turn, received $235,000 in cash, jewelry and clothing from Blount via Alabama Democratic lobbyist Al LaPierre. Prosecutors said most of the financial business Langford funneled to Blount involved bond and swap transactions related to Jefferson County's multi-billion dollar sewer debt.

LaPierre and Blount plead guilty last July to charges connected to the bribery scheme with Langford and testified for the prosecution during Langford's trial. They were each sentenced to prison last Friday: Blount was sentenced to four years and four months and LaPierre was sentenced to four years.

Prosecutors did not call any witnesses during Friday's sentencing, but prosecutor George Martin did make a statement, telling the judge, "Langford asked voters to judge him by his actions, now you (judge) should, too."  Martin also said Langford condemned justice system and shifted the blame for his conviction instead of showing remorse.  

Martin said the sentence should be a warning to other public officials.

Langford declined to make a statement during the sentencing, but did tell the judge, "I'm sorry this has occurred."

Judge Coogler ordered Langford to report to federal prison on April 5th.

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