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Former Birmingham, Ala., mayor sentenced to 15 years in bribery case

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — 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 says he did nothing wrong.

Langford, who was elected mayor in 2007, 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 are working on an appeal.

Langford, a dapper political figure, was convicted in October of taking the 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.

The defense said the cash and other items were personal gifts and loans from friends and did not influence Langford's decision on the bond work.

Former Birmingham, Ala., mayor sentenced to 15 years in bribery case 03/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 11:03pm]

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