Maybe There’s Something in the Water in Alaska

Just like Sarah Palin’s denial that she didn’t violate state ethics laws when, in fact, the report specifically said she did, we now have Ted Stevens, denying reality.

“I’ve not been convicted yet,” Stevens said Thursday in a meeting with the editorial board of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “There’s not a black mark by my name yet, until the appeal is over and I am finally convicted, if that happens. If that happens, of course I’ll do what’s right for Alaska and for the Senate. … I don’t anticipate it happening, and until it happens I do not have a black mark.”

Stevens reiterated that position during a televised debate late Thursday night, declaring early in the give-and-take with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, “I have not been convicted of anything.”

A jury of 12 people found him guilty of all the charges against him. In Alaska – unlike the other 49 states in the Union, and unlike most other countries with jury systems – this apparently doesn’t mean conviction.






57 replies
  1. 1
    r€nato says:

    Pity that Stevens is unlikely to be sentenced to PMITA prison… I think that might ram home the reality that he is, indeed, convicted of several felonies.

    RULE OF LAW! RULE OF LAW!*

    *this offer does not apply to Republicans.

  2. 2
    The Moar You Know says:

    This is an interesting definition of "convicted".

    Whatever, he’ll be re-elected anyway. Alaskans seem to love psychos in government.

  3. 3
    Rick Taylor says:

    I’m getting a little nervous about what happens after Tuesday once the votes have been counted. Assuming Obama gets more electoral votes than they do, will Palin and McCain admit they’ve lost?

  4. 4
    r€nato says:

    Palin and Stevens prove that they truly believe what we’ve been joking about for some time… IOKIYAR.

    They refuse to believe they can actually be indicted and convicted of a crime.

    I really hope the judge takes Stevens’ statements into account at sentencing. Clearly, he has no regard for the court’s verdict. Usually if you or I were to show such flagrant disregard for the court’s authority prior to sentencing, we’d be given a harsher sentence in order to make the point that we are a country of laws.

  5. 5
    Josh Hueco says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    Addition, that is doing mathematics by using more than one’s toes and fingers, is elitist.

    @R3nato:

    No Spermatazoan-Americans were massacred in the commission of Palin’s or Stevens’s actions, so technically no crimes were committed.

  6. 6
    Tom65 says:

    The guy is 84 years old; any prison time would likely be a death sentence.

  7. 7
    Joshau Norton says:

    Faulkner said it best: "The past is not dead. It is not even past."

    And nothing is more cliche or predictable than an convicted Republican crook shrilly claiming he is innocent and will be vindicated as they get hauled off to the slammer. Sometimes tears are involved for that special pathetic drama-queen touch.

    Better clowns, please.

  8. 8
    Michael D. says:

    @Tom65: If you commit a crime, you do the time, no matter how old you are.

  9. 9
    jcricket says:

    Assuming Obama gets more electoral votes than they do, will Palin and McCain admit they’ve lost?

    Wow – I had considered the possibility they might illegally throw out legit votes, but you just gave me a new fear.

    Sarah Palin saying, "I am proud to be your next President" in front of a crowd shouting "terrorist", "Marxist", "death to Obama" while the network crawl shows Obama/Biden with 400+ electoral votes, 55% of the popular vote, 9 seat Senate + 35 seat House pickup for the Dems… And a blaring red headline at the top, "McCain suffers heart attack… DEVELOPING"

  10. 10
    jcricket says:

    The guy is 84 years old; any prison time would likely be a death sentence.

    I honestly don’t care if Stevens serves more than 1 day in jail. Hopefully the fine will be quite large, and he will continue to obstruct justice and be cantankerous along the way – dragging down the fortunes of the GOP is Alaska (and perhaps nationally).

    Seriously, the continued drip, drip, drip of bad news for Republicans isn’t going to stop November 5th, 2009. You’ve got all kinds of corruption cases at the House/Senate; the DOJ/AG scandal; investigations into Iraq, torture, wiretapping; the consequences of de-regulation (not directly political, but will be tied to the GOP); etc.

    I predict a torrent of bad news for the GOP in 2009 and 2010, as long as the Democrats continue press forward and obtain convictions, harsh sentences & large fines (i.e. not Whitewater/Ken Starr stuff) on crooked Republicans and corporate types.

    The public is on our side (even on the issues of raising taxes, by like a 20% margin) so we should act accordingly. Doesn’t take a massively progressive or aggressive agenda to get a lot done.

  11. 11
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Tom65: I care why?

    I’m sure that this will be the prevailing sentiment amongst the GOP Taliban – how could the cruel Dems put an old man in prison? – ignoring their decades of hypocrisy and their priceless bawling that Clinton "must be subject to the rule of law" for getting a blowjob. Remember that?

    Fuck Ted Stevens. I hope he dies in jail.

  12. 12
    r€nato says:

    Prisons have procedures for dealing humanely with elderly inmates… thanks to those awful bleeding-heart anti-crime-victim ACLU attorneys.

    I will sleep well at night if Stevens is sent to prison; it is highly unlikely that he will be incarcerated with hardcore inmates. I do think he needs more than a slap on the wrist; he clearly believes he is above the law, jury verdict be damned.

  13. 13
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    The guy is 84 years old; any prison time would likely be a death sentence.

    And?

  14. 14
    Joshau Norton says:

    As Martha Stewart learned. "It’s a good thing".

  15. 15
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Stephens will eagerly awaiting good news coming any day thru his personal internets tube confirming his rightful Mulligan.

  16. 16
    r€nato says:

    I think you’re being a little harsh, Moar. Stevens is a presumptious dick and he surely deserves some prison time.

    I don’t wish death upon him.

  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    The guy is 84 years old; any prison time would likely be a death sentence.

    I fail to see the downside in this.

  18. 18
    r€nato says:

    oh, by the way…

    …this may seem obvious but the next time somebody tries to push that ‘Obama is a marxist’ crap on you, remind them that the great state of Alaska spreads the wealth by taxing Big Oil and then using that money to give out a check to every man, woman and child.

    Oh, and Gov. Sarah Palin just last year boosted that payout by $1,200 per person.

    I guarantee you, it will either shut them the fuck up or turn them into sputtering fools.

  19. 19
    The Moar You Know says:

    @r€nato: I don’t wish death on him.

    I do wish that he does the same amount of time in prison that a non-well connected, non-wealthy, non-US Senator would do if convicted of the same crimes.

    Which would make his death in prison inevitable.

  20. 20
    Raphael says:

    I’m honestly confused now, because I’m no expert on American law- is a conviction already legally valid before there’s a decision about the appeal against it?

  21. 21
    jonas says:

    It must be so awesome to run for office as a Republican. Your base will believe anything. Think of what it would be like to be able to go out on the stump day after day, and just completely make shit up. And then when the media call you on it, it serves as more proof to your supporters that you were right all along.

    If you’re looking to pull off an enormous Ponzi scheme or Nigerian 419 scam, just buy the Republican donor list from some really red, backwater county in Alaska, Idaho, Georgia or someplace. You’ll be millionaire in no time. And when you’re caught, the people you defrauded can probably be convinced to put up your bail and testify on your behalf at the trial.

  22. 22
    r€nato says:

    Raphael –

    A conviction is a conviction is a conviction, until and unless an appeals court has the chance to rule on it.

    Our prisons are filled with inmates who are appealing their convictions, and they are just as convicted as an inmate who is not appealing.

  23. 23
    Matthew says:

    I think he’s still laboring under the principle that he’s above the law. Plus he’s confused because he totally wore his Hulk tie and that usually shields him from harm. Maybe he’s speaking in the future tense, as in after Palin or Bush pardons him.

    http://thesebastards.blogspot.com/

  24. 24
    gopher2b says:

    He’s partially right (technically). He’s not "convicted" until the judge enters the verdict which will likely happen within the next two weeks.

    But someone should break the news to Stevens that he’s going to be in jail during his appeal. I wonder if he’ll still be saying he hasn’t been convicted from his jail cell in Kansas. I wonder if he and Michael Vick will share a cell…..hi-lar-ious.

  25. 25
    Raphael says:

    The guy is 84 years old; any prison time would likely be a death sentence.

    Unless he ends up in a poorly run prison (and I find that difficult to imagine), at worst it could be the equivalent of a life-without-parole sentence- and that isn’t a death sentence.

  26. 26
    Desmond says:

    Totally off topic, but I think we may have a SusanUnPC sighting:

    At the McCain event in Miami, a woman approached Brett and me inside the media area to ask what media outlet we were with, and subsequently to pitch her argument. She said she was a "blogger with No Quarter" and I thought, oh, this is going to be good.
    [..]
    Brett had to leave because he couldn’t take the barrage of ridiculousness, and half an hour later bailed me out with the fake "phone call" move. For my part, I listened to her patiently. When she finally paused, I looked her dead in the eye and calmly told her that her site was "rancid." Everything about what Larry Johnson was doing was scummy, I told her squarely, his site was a grotesque disgrace. I’m not sure that was the reaction she expected, but I even got her complimenting me on my honesty and forthrightness and reasonable tone with which I explained how horrifyingly unacceptable the racist bile on Larry Johnson’s site truly was.
    [..]
    Later, catching up with the great Al Giordano over a pint of Guinness in Tampa, he recounted having a similar conversation with this same woman (by description) who trapped him next to a broken elevator in Denver during the convention. "Oh man, that woman was crazy!" he recalled.

    The "crazy" thing is what makes me believe it.

  27. 27
    Raphael says:

    renato, thanks, good to know.

  28. 28
    gopher2b says:

    Giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not an idiot, and assuming he’s a liar and asshole, I’m thinking by "appeal" he means a posttrial motion to overturn the jury verdict (which the trial judge has the power to do) or a motion for a new trial (which, frankly, he could get albeit its unlikely).

    He’s saying appeal because he wants Alaskans to think this could drag on for years when, in fact, the court would rule on those motions within two to three weeks of filing (typically due within 10-14 days of a jury verdict).

    Once the judge enters the verdict, he’s convicted.

  29. 29

    @Raphael: YES. Stevens is just being a common or garden GOP "Rules are for little people" cretin. Funny how they’re tough on crime until the judge drops a gavel on their ass. I wish someone would ask if he thinks all convicts should walk free until they’ve exhausted their appeals.

  30. 30
    Jay Severin Has A Small Pen1s says:

    In Stevens’ defense…if he dies his conviction will be vacated.

    So he does, technically, have an out.

  31. 31
    Jay B. says:

    Think of it this way Raphael, what do you think he’s appealing?

  32. 32
    r€nato says:

    I wish someone would ask if he thinks all convicts should walk free until they’ve exhausted their appeals.

    of course not. They are the little people.

    …but you said that already. OK back to work with me…

  33. 33
    Evinfuilt says:

    Math is for Arugula munching elitists. So Stevens is just fine being convicted by 12 people. I mean, 12 is a big number, he doesn’t need to understand what that means.

    And besides, Stephens only has to fight till January 1st, when he gets his pardon.

  34. 34
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Shorter Stevens: Until I run out of money trying to buy myself the kind of justice rich peoples iz supposed to get in this country, iz not admitting anything.

  35. 35
    Andy says:

    It is a peculiarity of the federal judicial system that, unless all appeals are settled, a conviction is not actually, formally final. For this reason, Ken Lay of Enron infamy does not have a final conviction against his name, because he died before his appeals were done. And actually (Stevens and Lay notwithstanding), that’s the way it should be.

    He could still go to prison, of course, although there is more than ample reason to believe an appeal might be successful, and that being the case I doubt the judge would require Stevens to be incarcerated in the menatime.

    And for that matter, I’m with jcricket — I really don’t care if he actually goes to prison; I would be satisfied for him to return to Alaska and a retirement job in AM radio up there among the moose and wolves — at least those Governor Palin hasn’t yet shot from a helicopter.

  36. 36
    Comrade Bey says:

    The guy is 84 years old; any prison time would likely be a death sentence.

    No one here gets out alive. Existential truth.

    And besides, it’s not a dungeon fer crissakes.

  37. 37
    OriGuy says:

    He’d go to a federal prison, right? Alaska’s prisons are so crowded, they’ve been flying prisoners to Arizona. At least until Sarah Palin sold the plane they’d been using on eBay.

  38. 38
    steve says:

    stevens doesnt know the definition of convicted and billy c didnt know what the definition of is, is….dont know whether to laugh or cry

  39. 39
    CIRCVS MAXIMVS MMVIII says:

    I’m hoping Stevens gets to keep his seat just long enough for Sarah Palin to not have a chance to pick it up.

  40. 40
    Vincent says:

    Even if Stevens was using the hypertechnical definition of ‘convicted’ (and as a law student I don’t really have problems with hypertechnical), what exactly does he gain from this proclamation? Aside from ridicule, obviously.

    "Oh, my ass may be in jail pending appeal and if I die the charges against me will be vacated but at least I won’t be actually and formally convicted! Victory!"

  41. 41
    Mike G says:

    If you’re looking to pull off an enormous Ponzi scheme or Nigerian 419 scam, just buy the Republican donor list from some really red, backwater county in Alaska, Idaho, Georgia or someplace.

    Utah is the financial scam capital of America.
    The theory is that it plays into the authoritarian patriarchal culture of Mormonism. Most of them will trust and believe anything if it comes from a clean cut ‘authority’-type male from their church — it’s how they’ve been conditioned their entire lives.

  42. 42
    gbear says:

    Sarah Palin saying, "I am proud to be your next President" in front of a crowd shouting "terrorist", "Marxist", "death to Obama" while the network crawl shows Obama/Biden with 400+ electoral votes, 55% of the popular vote, 9 seat Senate + 35 seat House pickup for the Dems… And a blaring red headline at the top, "McCain suffers heart attack… DEVELOPING"

    LOL! Given the way both campaigns have been going, your scenario is pretty much inevitable. On election night, we can watch the Obama coverage for the joy of it, and then watch the McCain coverage for the awesome yucks. Both should be amazing.

  43. 43
    gbear says:

    stevens doesnt know the definition of convicted and billy c didnt know what the definition of is, is….dont know whether to laugh or cry

    And steve doesn’t know the definitions of ‘old’ or ‘lame’ or ‘pathetic’…

  44. 44
    Comrade Dread says:

    "He’s not dead, he’s resting."

  45. 45
    Alex says:

    If he dies before his appeal is finalized, then his conviction will be vacated — like Ken Lay’s.

    But until he croaks, or until his conviction is reversed, he is very much convicted.

    I would guess his outbursts will not be taken too kindly when it comes time for sentencing.

  46. 46
    Phoebe says:

    no no no. Stevens is just crazy. I was a criminal defense attorney in AK, and here’s how it works [maybe more than you need/want to know]:

    1. You lose the jury trial – they say "guilty" – everybody knows this part. The judge then finds guilt. Convicted!

    2. If it’s a felony, sentencing is set for 90 days out, in order for the probation officer to type up a sentence report [his recommendation] and to give you, the defense attorney, time to look over it with your client, file any objections or whatever.

    3. At sentencing, the judge has read the report, the prosecution and defense argue what they think the sentence should be, and you can put on witnesses if you like.

    4. If there is jail time, the defendant is remanded [sent to prison] then.

    Then you do or you don’t appeal – but what you would or would not be appealing is the conviction or the sentence or both. You can’t appeal a conviction unless you have been convicted.

    This guy has SEVEN CONVICTIONS and he has them NOW. He will wait to appeal because he might want to appeal the sentence as well, because these are separate issues, and you include them all in the same notice of appeal.

    And I guess my point after all of this, is that Stevens’s lawyer would have told him all of this already, a long time ago. Stevens is fine to say "I’m innocent and will be vindicated on appeal" or "these convictions will all be reversed, you mark my words!" but he’s been convicted.

    So yeah, he’s pretty much lying. Or crazy.

  47. 47
    El Cid says:

    Does this give him a chance to go out and hunt down the real ethics violator?

  48. 48

    Well, it’s been working for Tom Delay for a long time.

    This is a guy who refused to acknowledge that he has been convicted of a crime, and now is on tv saying that Barack Obama plans to "destroy America" (those were his exact words).

    What is amazing to me is that we have a communications system that invites people like him to come down to the studios and sit in front of the cameras and say this shit. The existence of crazy people has never been in doubt. The ascension of them to public figures is relatively new to me.

  49. 49
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Mike G: Utah is the financial scam capital of America.
    The theory is that it plays into the authoritarian patriarchal culture of Mormonism. Most of them will trust and believe anything if it comes from a clean cut ‘authority’-type male from their church—it’s how they’ve been conditioned their entire lives.

    Yup. I arrived at that same conclusion independently, having lived in Utah for a long time (my nym used to be SamFromUtah) and watched a hojillion Ponzi schemes flower here. It’s also probably the multilevel marketing capital of the universe.

    In many ways, this "sucker" property included, Utah has long been a model of wingnut America.

  50. 50
    AnneLaurie says:

    If you’re looking to pull off an enormous Ponzi scheme or Nigerian 419 scam, just buy the Republican donor list from some really red, backwater county in Alaska, Idaho, Georgia or someplace. You’ll be millionaires in no time. And when you’re caught, the people you defrauded can probably be convinced to put up your bail and testify on your behalf at the trial.

    This is the distilled essence of the Dubya/Cheney crime cartel’s behavior over the last decade, isn’t it?

  51. 51

    [Wags finger at camera] "I did not get vibrated by that massage chair."

  52. 52
    DR says:

    Easy to explain: Stevens, like Palin, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the United States of America.

  53. 53
    Vincent says:

    Senator Stevens, you are no Richard Nixon.

  54. 54
    West Coast libertarian says:

    With respect to Stevens being 84, I am reminded of the 84 year old defendant being sentenced to 20 years. He says "Judge, I’m 84; ther’s no way I can do 20 years in prison", and the judge replies "Well do as many as you can"

  55. 55
    fdeblauwe says:

    Another funny cartoon at the Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 blog: "Alaska: State of Denial."

  56. 56
    Nancy Irving says:

    The best are without all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity, ha ha.

  57. 57
    ninerdave says:

    A jury of 12 people found him guilty of all the charges against him. In Alaska – unlike the other 49 states in the Union, and unlike most other countries with jury systems – this apparently doesn’t mean conviction.

    Um…srsly? WTF? I’m assuming we’re talking Ted Stevens here.

    The Indictment was dismissed.

    Whatever you think of him, and for this argument, I’ll shaddup, but the dude is a free man, free of charges, and should be treated as such. Anything else is complete bullshit.

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