"I certainly hoped that should Jefferson County do any public finance work, my firm would be included," Blount said.
Prosecutors have accused Langford of taking more than $235,000 worth of bribes in exchange for delivering more than $7 million in bond deals to Blount-Parrish. Blount has pleaded guilty, and today he explained to the federal jury that he expects a more lenient sentence because of that plea. Blount could face up to 60 years for bribery and conspiracy, but his deal with prosecutors could get that reduced to 52 months in prison.
On the stand, Blount recounted the early years of his banking business, as well as the 30 years he had known Langford. Blount first met Langford when Langford served on the Birmingham City Council. Blount's firm has assisted on most if not all bond deals Langford has authorized since Langford served as mayor of Fairfield.
Blount told jurors that he served as an unofficial manager of Langford's 2002 campaign for the Jefferson County Commission. Shortly after Langford won the June 2002 Democratic primary, work began to get the three commission votes needed to make Langford commission president. Ultimately, Commissioners Shelia Smoot and Gary White voted for Langford to be commission president.
As commission president, Langford chaired the county's finance committee. Langford told county finance officials that Blount-Parrish was his favored firm for county business, Blount said.
As early as March 2003 , Langford began directing business to Blount's firm. When Blount-Parrish took part in interest rate swaps, Blount said he and Langford had to engage in some political subterfuge. Instead of disclosing Blount's role in the normal bond documents, they arranged for banks to write "side letters" directly to Langford. While this technically served as a disclosure for the banks, it was outside the notice of the public, other commissioners and sometimes the finance director, Steve Sayler.
According to Blount, he and Langford were worried that Langford's "nemesis" on the commission, Bettye Fine Collins, would leak the information to the press if it were sent to other commissioners.
Earlier in the day, jurors heard testimony from representatives from several more New York clothiers. While on trips to New York, Blount bought clothes, suits and watches for Langford, they said.
Testimony resumes after lunch.
Madison Underwood contributed to this article.