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State News

June 3, 2013

Former Birmingham mayor from prison: 'I'm dying.'

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —

Former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford said he is dying in the federal prison where he is serving time for accepting bribes, yet officials denied him early release.

Langford told al.com in a story published Sunday by The Birmingham News that he is terminally ill. He has not elaborated publicly on his medical conditions.

Langford, in an email about his health, said he sought an early release from prison citing his medical condition but was refused.

"I'm dying and just was refused a compassionate release after the prison here, the probation in Birmingham and the warden all approved my being allowed to go home to die," Langford wrote.

The preliminary approvals for release were rejected by "the powers that be in D.C. claiming that I'm still able to walk on my own," Langford said of the Justice Department.

A spokeswoman with the Bureau of Prisons did not respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.

Federal prison records show Langford is being held at a federal prison medical facility in Lexington, Ky. He is set for release in 2023.

Langford was Birmingham's mayor when jurors convicted him in 2009 of accepting about $235,000 in bribes while serving on the Jefferson County Commission.

Two former Democratic leaders, Bill Blount and Al LaPierre, pleaded guilty to paying the bribes and also went to prison. Both men testified against Langford.

The corruption helped lead to Jefferson County filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history in November 2011.

Langford still maintains he is innocent, but the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal last year. He is serving a 15-year sentence and was transferred to the prison medical center about a year ago.

Langford has used different birthdates through the years, but he is either 65 or 67. He served as mayor of Fairfield in suburban Birmingham before joining the county commission and being elected mayor of Birmingham.

 

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