BRADENTON, Fla. - A federal judge yesterday set Jan. 30 to hear arguments on a series of motions pending in the Securities and Exchange Commission's case against Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford, Alabama bond dealer William Blount, and his firm Blount Parrish & Co., as well as lobbyist Albert LaPierre.

The SEC filed securities fraud and related charges against the four on April 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. It is the SEC's first enforcement action involving security-based swap agreements, in this case swaps based on municipal bond indexes.

The case involves a series of bond transactions and swaps in 2003 and 2004 related to Jefferson County's sewer system.

Attorneys for Langford, Blount, and LaPierre filed motions to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the SEC has no jurisdiction over security-based swap agreements.

In August, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association filed a motion seeking to submit a friend-of-the-court brief. SIFMA argued that the SEC does not have oversight of interest rate swaps based on its municipal swap index because it is an index of interest rates, not securities. The commission filed a motion urging the court to disregard SIFMA's brief.

Chief Federal Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn will hear arguments starting at 11 a.m. Jan. 30 on the motions to dismiss the case, and whether to accept SIFMA's friend-of-the-court brief.

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