BRADENTON, Fla. — Nearly a year after beginning a 15-year sentence for pay-to-play crimes, former Jefferson County Commission President Larry Langford will get another day in court.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has scheduled oral arguments in his appeal for March 8. Langford will not be present.
It can take weeks or months for a ruling to be handed down, said Langford’s attorney, Michael Rasmussen.
“If the court affirms the conviction, the next step is a motion for reconsideration by the three judge panel, a motion for the entire court to hear the case, and-or a petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case,” Rasmussen said.
Langford is seeking to overturn his 2009 conviction by a federal jury in Alabama that found him guilty on 60 counts of bribery, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, and filing a false tax return. He reported to prison last April.
Most of the charges are related to the $3.2 billion of variable- and auction-rate sewer bond deals that he orchestrated as head of the County Commission in 2002 and 2003.
Those deals soured when the bond market crashed in the wake of the real estate crisis and have yet to be restructured.
In court documents, Langford said he should get a new trial and described the case against him as “entirely circumstantial.”
Langford never testified in his defense and maintained his innocence despite the fact that federal prosecutors said he received $235,000 in gifts and money in return for directing bond business to Montgomery bond dealer Bill Blount, whose firm received $7 million in fees from county deals.
Prosecutors said their mutual friend, lobbyist Al LaPierre, was often the go-between delivering money to Langford from Blount.
The three men were indicted together. However, LaPierre and Blount took plea deals and are now in prison. Langford stood trial alone.
In his appellate court brief, Langford alleged there were numerous errors in his lower court conviction, including the improper exclusion of evidence and the inclusion of evidence unrelated to his case.