For a second time, a federal judge in Birmingham has delayed the sentencing of a former Jefferson County commissioner who admitted she lied to a federal grand jury last year when she denied receiving gifts from a Montgomery investment banker involved in the county’s sewer bond transactions.
Mary Buckelew agreed to plead guilty to one count of obstructing justice after she admitted receiving lavish gifts in New York City and in Birmingham from the banker. She was to be sentenced June 30.
But prosecutors last week asked for another delay in her sentencing because she will testify in the trial of Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, who formerly headed the Jefferson County Commission, as well as Montgomery bond dealer William Blount, and Albert LaPierre, a lobbyist and friend of Blount and Langford.
Langford, Blount, and LaPierre are named in a 101-count federal indictment on charges that include conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns in connection with an alleged pay-to-play scheme related to Jefferson County’s sewer bond deals.
The three men initially were scheduled to stand trial May 4 but a judge agreed with their request for a delay. Their trial is now set for Aug. 31.
The judge in Buckelew’s case last week set her new sentencing date for Sept. 30.
Buckelew entered a plea agreement but the terms of her sentencing depend on the level of her cooperation in the trial against Langford, Blount, and LaPierre, according to court documents. She was a commissioner from 1990 to 2006, and participated in the sewer bond transactions that now threaten to bankrupt the county.