In a four-page letter to The Washington Post from federal prison, Joe Exotic claims that “Tiger King 2” demonstrates he is “innocent,” and that former President Donald Trump was “a fool” for refusing to pardon him, and that President Joe Biden should grant him clemency.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a 58-year-old former Oklahoma zookeeper, was convicted in 2019 of paying a hitman $3,000 to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin.
Last year, the unlikely Netflix celebrity was sentenced to 22 years in prison, but he says he hopes to be released and testify before Congress against Baskin’s efforts to restrict big cat ownership.
The self-described “gay, gun-toting redneck with a mullet” argues that Trump has disappointed “millions” by refusing to release him and that if Biden does not do so, he would face an electoral reaction.
“President Trump was a fool not to pardon me,” Joe Exotic writes. “Before the election, millions of people were hoping for it as they know I’m innocent, most of this is in TK2 [‘Tiger King 2’] and it will be the same for President Biden, the world will know the truth [when the new season is released] and him and VP [Kamala] Harris ran on justice and prison reform.”
“It would be in the interest of American Justice for President Biden to pardon me before the holidays and charge those with perjury and other suitable charges, or the injustice is really going to cost votes in 2022 as the people wonder if this could happen to them under his watch,” he adds.
Joe Exotic also complains that federal prison guards make it difficult for him to interact with reporters by phone or email, which prompted him to send the handwritten snail mail note.
“For 3 years they ‘the Government’ has kept me in isolation, blocked numbers and reporters from my phone, rejected any email that tells the truth to my attorneys, kept me from talking to the press, and monitored every legal call I’ve had,” he claims.
Joe Exotic adds: “Now take the standard of care for a chimp[:] cage size, diet, enrichment and compare that to the care of a human in city, county, state or federal. America requires and cares more about the care of a chimp in a zoo than [sic] your family member in jail. How is this possible? Look it up.”
STORY CONTINUES BELOW...
Allen Glover, a former business partner of Joe Exotic who he alleges set him up to steal his zoo, makes the most startling disclosure in the new season of “Tiger King,” which began last week.
Glover initially told detectives that he had been recruited to assassinate Baskin. However, in “Tiger King 2,” the would-be assassin claims he lied.
In the new season, Glover, an ex-con with a teardrop tattoo that he claims is a memorial to his grandmother rather than a murder confession, alleges that he and Lowe were planning to murder Joe Exotic. Glover even brings a video team to the Oklahoma zoo, where he and Lowe stated they planned to set up a wire to decapitate Joe Exotic if he rode by on a four-wheeler at a high speed.
“Jeff Lowe was videotaping the agents, setting this up, rehersing [sic] their testimony and fabricating evidence the whole time and has turned it all over to my attorneys, 4 cellphones, and 3 TB of harddrives,” Joe Exotic writes.
“We have sworn affidavits from Allen Glover stating he lied to the grand jury and to my jury that I done nothing. The feds and Jeff Lowe made him say I did and he under oath admitted that he and Jeff + Lauren Lowe’s original plan was to kill me to get the zoo. And even took [my attorney] John Phillips and the producer of Netflix to Oklahoma to the zoo and showed them where he hid the murder weapon, yes the plan was to kill me and it failed so the[y] set me up to take my zoo.”
Joe Exotic was the first to criticize Trump when the 45th president left office without granting him a pardon on Jan. 20. Supporters of the former zookeeper had attended the “Stop the Steal” event on Jan. 6 ahead of the Capitol incident and were so confident that pardon would be granted that they had a limo waiting on Trump’s final day in office. Joe Exotic, enraged, commented on Twitter that he was “too innocent and too GAY” for Trump.
Joe Exotic was transported from a federal prison in Texas to one in North Carolina last week, where he would receive prostate cancer treatment. However, the change made it even more difficult for him to benefit from the show’s publicity.
After Joe Exotic was sentenced to prison, Baskin took possession of his zoo in exchange for a $1 million court settlement in a 2013 trademark infringement dispute. Most of the animals were transported to a nearby farm by Lowe, who had control of the zoo, before being confiscated by officials for suspected cruelty.
“My wish is to get out and testify to Congress about the Big Cat Safety Act and what a scam it is to create a monopoly for PETA and Dan Ashe with the [Association of Zoos and Aquariums],” Joe Exotic writes, adding that he strongly opposes the AZA’s role in certifying that zoos are up to snuff.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has been chastised by Baskin for not supporting restrictions on big cat ownership, is mentioned favorably in the letter.
“I was the largest breeder in the world. I know everything about their scams is why I’m the only one in jail. They had to kill me or shut me up. I know the truth, let me speak. Senator Ted Cruz knows the truth. I need America to be my voice!” Joe Exotic wrote.
Joe Exotic’s 22-year sentence is being reduced as a result of a federal appeals court ruling in July. In addition to his murder-for-hire conviction, he was found guilty of 17 other crimes, including falsifying animal records and murdering and selling tigers.