A Birmingham News cartoon from October 2002 by then-staffer Scott Stantis cartoon used by mayor Larry Langford's defense team in his federal bribery trial.

A Birmingham News cartoon from October 2002 by then-staffer Scott Stantis used by mayor Larry Langford's defense team in his federal bribery trial (click to enlarge).

Could the cartoonist that helped to put an Alabama mayor in hot water be used to prove his innocence?

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, a democrat accused of accepting bribes while serving as president of the Jefferson County Commission, is turning to an unlikely ally to prove his innocence – former Birmingham News editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis.

According to the Birmingham News, U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler has agreed to let Langford’s legal team use a Scott Stantis cartoon from 2002 to show that the Jefferson County Commission was already in political trouble when then-commissioner Langford turned to investment banker Bill Blount for help on bond deals.

Langford allegedly took tens of thousands in cash and expensive gifts from Blount, who made millions in county bond business in return

The cartoon shows a hand from the Jefferson County Commission holding a drill labeled “Super Sewer” (referring to the county’s sewer debt crisis) that is drilling into a rate payer. The rate payer is saying, “backward or forward, either way I get drilled…”

The use of a Stantis cartoon by Langford’s legal team is odd, considering they successfully had his corruption trial moved to Tuscaloosa because of the negative publicity the mayor received due to Stantis’ cartoons.

“The caricatures of Langford in The News‘ editorial cartoons can be described as ugly,” Langford’s attorney Michael Rasmussen said in the filing. “The ugliness is consistent with other cartoons that have appeared in The Birmingham News attacking the defendant and his defense.”

View more cartoons by Chicago Tribune cartoonist Scott Stantis here.