Former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was sentenced Friday to 15 years in federal prison for taking clothes, Rolex watches, loan payments and cash worth more than $240,000 as bribes in return for lucrative bond work.
U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler imposed the sentence on Langford, 63, who told the court, “I am sorry all this has occurred.”
The sentence was about nine years shorter than the minimum term sought by prosecutors. Asked outside court whether he was pleased, Langford sneered at a reporter.
“Are you?” said Langford, who claims he did nothing wrong.
Langford and his wife have blamed his conviction on vindictive prosecutors, inattentive jurors and racism. Langford is black; most of the jurors were white.
Defense lawyers already are working on an appeal.
Langford, a dapper political figure, was convicted in October of taking cash, loans and gifts – including expensive clothes and jewelry — while he was president of the Jefferson County Commission. In exchange, prosecutors said, he steered county bond work to an investment banker who paid the bribes.
“He sold Jefferson County out,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin.
He said Langford committed a “gross abuse of trust” with every Italian suit, Rolex watch and cash payment he received. Initially valued at $235,000, authorities said a final tally of the bribes came to $241,843 – which Langford was ordered to repay, along with about $119,985 in back taxes. Langford must report to federal custody by April 5.