CONVICTED…. Maybe there’s something about scandal-plagued Alaskan Republicans that leads to denial. When Sarah Palin was found to have violated state ethics laws, she announced that she’d been cleared her of “any hint of any kind of unethical activity.” This was the opposite of reality.

Similarly, when Ted Stevens was found guilty of felony corruption charges, he said he hasn’t been convicted.

“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.”

Now, I’m not an attorney, but if an accused criminal goes to trial, and a jury founds the accused guilty, I think it’s called a “conviction.” The defendant can appeal his conviction, of course, but therein lies the point — he’s appealing his conviction.

I even looked it up — a conviction is “the judgment of a jury or judge that a person is guilty of a crime as charged.”

What on earth is Ted Stevens talking about?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.