Al LaPierre and Bill Blount, both Langford friends and business associates, were also implicated in the unsealed federal indictment, which lists 101 counts including conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and tax fraud. Langford is named in 60 counts in the indictment, Blount in 43 and LaPierre in 22. Langford pleaded not guilty and was released from custody after posting $50,000 bond.
The Justice Department alleges that Langford accepted $235,000 in "expensive clothes, Rolex watches and cash to pay his growing personal debt", while Blount's firm, Blount Parrish and Co., netted more than $7 million dollars in fees relating to bond deals arranged by Langford on behalf of Jefferson County.
"Langford owed a duty of loyalty to Jefferson County in the administration of the county's financial affairs," according to the indictment. "He sold out his public office to his friends."
Jefferson County is currently on the verge of declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, dogged by skyrocketing interest rates on bond swaps that Langford authorized. The bonds were issued to pay for a massive sewer project undertaken several years ago by the county, but never completed.
"The message today should be clear," says the FBI's Carmen Adams in the indictment. "It does not matter what position you hold or what connections you have. If you choose to violate the public's trust, you will be held accountable for your actions."
The maximum term of imprisonment for each bribery and money laundering count is 10 years, 20 years for each fraud count, five years for each conspiracy count and three years for each tax count. In addition, each of the three defendents would face substantial fines if convicted.
Langford was arrested around 7 a.m. at Birmingham Budweiser, where he has served as a public relations executive in the past and currently serves as a consultant.
Breaking down the indictment:
Counts 1-2: Bribery - Implicates all three men (Langford, Blount, LaPierre)
Counts 3-5: Money Laundering - Langford charged in all 3 counts
Count 6: Conspiracy - Implicates all three men
Counts 7-8: Bribery - Implicates all three men
Count 9: Money Laundering - Langford charged with one count
Counts 10-36: Bribery - Langford charged in all 27 counts
Counts 37-54: Bribery - Blount charged in all 18 counts
Counts 45-63: Bribery - LaPierre charged in all 9 counts
Counts 64-68: Mail Fraud - Langford and Blount charged with 5 counts each
Counts 69-80: Wire Fraud - Langford and Blount charged with 12 counts each
Counts 81-86: Wire Fraud - Langford and LaPierre charged with 6 counts each
Counts 87-89: Filing False Tax Return - Langford charged in all 3 counts
Counts 90-91: Mail Fraud: Blount charged in both counts
Counts 92-94: Bribery: Blount charged in all 3 counts
Counts 95-98: Filing False Tax Return: LaPierre charged in all 4 counts
Counts 99-101: Forfeiture: All three men charged with one count each
Birmingham Weekly has spent the past several years detailing Langford's various business dealings and eccentricities throughout his political career. Below are links to past Weekly stories surrounding the embattled Birmingham mayor.