Don’t be fooled by labels

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The indictment of Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford came as no surprise. The only question seemed to be when after the federal probe began into Langford’s tenure on the Jefferson County Commission, where he served four years as president.

He was arrested Monday by FBI agents at a beer distributor where he has a public relations job. Langford is not the only one charged. Bill Blount, an investment banker in Montgomery and lobbyist Al LaPierre also are named in the 101-count indictment that formally accuses the three of conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

The courts will decide the fate of the three. Langford has called the charges part of a Republican witchhunt.

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We don’t believe a word of it.

Already a Republican and former county president of the same county commission, Mary Buckelew, has pleaded guilty to lying to a federal grand jury that investigated the bond deals — those same bond deals Langford, Blount and LaPierre are accused of taking part in.

Buckelew has taken her licks. She’s cooperating with investigators and will receive her sentence later.

On its face this appears as basic public corruption that costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That’s the bottom line.