Joe Exotic to appeal directly to Trump for commuting his 22-year sentence for plotting to murder Carole Baskin
The 'Tiger King' star was convicted in 2019 of multiple counts of animal abuse and a murder-for-hire plot
The unwitting star of Netflix's 'Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, Madness,' Joe Exotic, is reportedly planning to appeal directly to the Oval Office in a bid to have his jail sentence commuted.
Joe, born Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, had been sent behind bars for 22 years in 2019 after he was convicted of 17 federal charges of animal abuse in connection to his running of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, as well as two counts of murder for hire for a plot to kill Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin.
His case was brought back into the spotlight because of the Netflix docu-series, and his lawyers are now planning to use the publicity to appeal to Trump directly, according to TMZ. Based out of Fort Worth, Texas, the legal team is said to be currently preparing a case file which claims that their client was wrongfully convicted of trying to murder Baskin.
They have also wrapped a big bus with the lettering, "President Trump Please Pardon Joe Exotic," which they plan to roll out when they make their announcement about the appeal. TMZ pointed out that Joe might just have a chance since there were certain discrepancies in his case including how the alleged hitman, Allen Grover, happened to be the star witness at his trial.
Glover had claimed that Joe gave him $3,000 to carry out the hit on Baskin, something the latter has refuted. Joe insisted that he gave him the money because he was proving a nuisance at the zoo and he wanted him out. During an interview, Glover had also seemingly suggested that his testimony was "payback" for all the misery Joe had caused to both people and animals. He added that he wished he could have done more to hurt him as well.
In Trump, Joe may just have a sympathetic ear too. Last month, the president shared that he might examine a request for a pardon. The response came after he was asked by a reporter if he had heard of the Netflix show and if he had given consideration to commuting Joe's 22-year sentence since his son, Trump Jr., was all for it.
"I’ll take a look," he said.
He went on to ask about Joe Exotic and said, "I know nothing about it … he has 22 for what? What did he do?" The reporter explained why Joe Exotic was in prison to which Trump said, "Do you think he didn’t do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon?"
He then turned to an off-screen reporter identified by CSPAN as CNN's Jim Acosta and asked, "Would you recommend a pardon?"
When Acosta responded with, "I'm not weighing in on 'Tiger King,'" Trump said, "I don't think you would. I'll take a look."
Don Jr had earlier said he felt Joe's sentence was too "aggressive."
"It doesn’t seem like he was totally innocent of anything. But when they’re saying, ‘We’re putting this guy away for 30 years,' I’m saying that seems sort of aggressive," he said.