(ABC4) – Joe Exotic’s legal team believes President Donald Trump will issue a pardon for the man featured in the hit Netflix show ‘Tiger King.’
In 2020, Exotic – 56-year-old Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage – was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws.
Maldonado-Passage is a former Oklahoma zookeeper and one-time candidate for governor who captured the country by storm as one of the main figures shown in Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’, which was released in early 2020.
He was sentenced for trying to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, a Florida animal sanctuary founder, who criticized his treatment of animals. He was also sentenced for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs, and falsifying wildlife records.
“I still maintain my innocence and looking forward in the upcoming days to my attorneys filing my appeal and moving onto the next step in this nightmare,” Maldonado-Passage said in a statement posted to his Facebook page.
The leader of Maldonado-Passage tells ABC4 affiliate KOCO that they are extremely confident about getting a presidential pardon from Pres. Trump.
“We’ve delivered everything that I wanted to do on this project,” Eric Love said. “I am absolutely confident that we are going to receive the pardon [Tuesday]. We worked very hard on it.”
Love – the lead advocate for Team Tiger, which is a group consisting of attorneys and private investigators who represent Maldonado-Passage – said he’s the one who told “Joe Exotic” to look into a presidential pardon. A 257-page application was filed last September.
The team even has hair, makeup, wardrobes, and a limo ready to pick up Maldonado-Passage and take him to a secure location if he receives a pardon.
In June 2020, a federal judge in Oklahoma awarded ownership of Maldonado-Passage’s zoo to Baskin.
Two months later, the controversial Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, once owned by Maldonado-Passage, closed to the public after the USDA suspended current zoo proprietor Jeff Lowe’s exhibitor license.
Pres. Trump is expected to grant numerous pardons during his last day in office. There is no word yet on who may receive clemency.