Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, made a splash in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
The Netflix series “Tiger King” took the world by storm, exposing the dark underbelly of big cat owners in the United States.
As 2020 draws to a close, supporters of Maldonado-Passage are hoping President Donald Trump and the new year will bring a possible pardon for “Tiger King.”
Joe Exotic is in prison for ordering a hit on Carole Baskin.
Maldonado-Passage, the former owner of an exotic animal park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison after his role in the 2017 contract killing of animal rights activist Carole Baskin.
The indictment also highlighted Maldonado-Passage’s numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Baskin, founder of Florida’s Big Cat Rescue, spoke openly about Maldonado-Passage and his mistreatment of big cats.
For years, the two argued publicly. Maldonado-Passage shared countless Facebook posts and YouTube videos in which he threatened Baskin and her shelter.
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Later, Maldonado-Passage offered to pay $3,000 to have Baskin executed. Unknown to Maldonado-Passage, the person he offered to pay was an undercover FBI agent (via NBC News).
Texas millionaire Eric Love leads Joe Exotic’s legal fight
Eric Love, a Texas millionaire, is spearheading Maldonado-Passage’s lawsuit. He felt compelled to help Maldonado-Passage after watching the Tiger King documentary series.
His journey to help Maldonado-Passage began when he hired a team of legal advisers – called “Team Tiger” – to put together a 257-page document outlining Maldonado-Passage’s innocence.
“This will prove Joe is innocent,” Love told a local news agency. “When you think about valuable cargo, this is more than valuable.
Because it’s somebody’s life.
This is somebody’s whole life.
This is [Maldonado Passage’s] freedom.”
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Love was in contact with Maldonado-Passage during his time in prison.
He reportedly sent Maldonado-Passage a letter that said:
I’m a retired police officer, a philanthropist in Fort Worth, and I’m a private investigator. I can put together a team of lawyers, and I think I have a great chance of getting you out of jail through a presidential pardon.
Maldonado-Passage replied and wrote, “Eric, I need your help urgently. You will be hearing from my proxy.”
Love hopes his attempts to help Maldonado-Passage will pay off in the new year.
Will Donald Trump release ‘Tiger King’s Joe Exotic’ from federal prison?
According to TMZ, Maldonado-Passage could be pardoned before Donald Trump officially leaves office. Maldonado-Passage’s legal team is scheduled to fly to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, for a “high-level meeting related to her pardon request.”
Love will fly “Exotic 1” to the nation’s capital to attend the Trump rally scheduled for next week.
“The Exotic Express will fly through the nation’s airspace to ask President Trump to pardon an innocent man – Joe Exotic,” Love said in the TMZ video. “President Trump knows Team Tiger will be on the ground in Washington, D.C. to support him on this historic day.”
Whether Love’s plan will work out is still up in the air. Stay tuned for the latest on Joe Exotic’s legal battle.