Wade on Birmingham

Larry Langford trial, Day 5: Live from Tuscaloosa


Wade on Birmingham - The trial of Larry LangfordOngoing coverage of Birmingham mayor Larry Langford on trial in Tuscaloosa for bribery.

Highlights: Bill Blount concluded his testimony. He said Langford had great influence as Jefferson County Commission president as to which banks would be part of the bond deals.

Al LaPierre provided most of the day’s testimony. He explained that Langford came to him with money woes (past-due loan, large bills) in 2003 and 2004. LaPierre would in turn call Blount, who would pass money through LaPierre to Langford: $50,000, $69,000, $6,000. Blount also hired LaPierre to monitor the Jefferson County Commission for potential bank competitors in bond deals; LaPierre earned $201,000 total in 2003 and 2004 for his services.

LaPierre said Blount didn’t pay Langford directly because Blount knew it to be a violation of Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Under cross examination, LaPierre said he had no express agreement with Langford to trade cash for votes. He also admitted he never told Langford that Blount had provided the money. During redirect, LaPierre said he assumed Langford knew who the source was.

Following the start of the SEC inquiry, LaPierre said Blount had all three sign promissory notes to show the payments as loans, though almost none of the money was repaid. (One check from Langford in 2008 showed a payment to LaPierre of $5,000.) LaPierre said they were creating a false paper trail.

LaPierre also said he paid Langford’s $50,000 bill at Remon’s to avoid political embarrassment during Langford’s 2007 mayoral campaign and to keep Langford happy.

Quote of the day: Prosecution: “Were these loans?” LaPierre: “At that time, that was the story we were telling.”

Homework: See our full live Day 5 coverage below.

Next: The trial enters Week 2. Prosecution may finish on Monday.

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