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Jefferson County, Alabama, declared the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, capping a more than three-year saga that turned it into one of the biggest casualties of Wall Street’s credit crisis.

The move yesterday by Alabama’s most-populous county came after state lawmakers failed to back a September agreement with creditors led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. that would have reduced its sewer-system debt of more than $3 billion. Governor Robert Bentley and local leaders worked unsuccessfully for two months to rally support for the deal, which fell apart anyway.

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