‘Tiger King’ Star Joe Exotic Sends Letter To ‘Hero’ Donald Trump Asking For Pardon
The infamous star of the Netflix documentary miniseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, has sent President Donald Trump an application to for a pardon for his federal prison sentence. The application is supplemented by a two-page handwritten letter expressing Exotic’s deep admiration for the president, whom he says is his “hero.”
The Rules Governing Petitions for Executive Clemency outline a minimum of five years after completion of a sentence before someone can become eligible to apply for a presidential pardon; however, Maldonado-Passage has requested that the president waive this requirement in a letter attached to his official application.
In the letter, Maldonado-Passage tells the president to “listen to your own son” in reference to Donald Trump Jr.‘s appearance on the Jim Norton and Sam Roberts radio show where he jokingly mentioned that he would petition his father regarding Maldonado-Passage’s early release.
After praising Trump’s journey to the White House, Maldonado-Passage went on at length to accuse the federal agents and witnesses involved in his case of providing false testimonies while under oath. He characterized himself as a victim whose family’s belongings were “stolen by criminals,” which was most likely a reference to animal rights activist Carole Baskin being awarded his zoo by an Oklahoma judge.
Maldonado-Passage has repeatedly accused Baskin of causing her husband’s disappearance and feeding him to tigers. The former “Tiger King” went on to express his grief over his mother’s passing and his father having to be confined to a nursing home, while he remains imprisoned. Maldonado-Passage claims he only wants to be released to “return to helping sick children and the homeless.”
The former zoo owner is currently serving a 22-year federal prison sentence in Fort Worth for the attempted hiring of a hitman to assassinate Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue. Maldonado-Passage had begun contracting hitmen in July 2016 but unknowingly met with an FBI agent on one occasion, leading to his eventual arrest.
Baskin told CNN in an interview that she was aware of an attempt on her life. “Because of his constant threats to kill me, I have found myself seeing every bystander as a potential threat,” she said. “There is no where that I have felt safe, and worse, no way that I feel I can safeguard those around me. So many of his threats involved blowing me up, so that he could thrill over seeing me burn to death.”
Maldonado-Passage is also serving time for the alleged killing of several tigers and the sale of their cubs, events not mentioned in his letter to the president.
Trump has given no official statement in response to the official pardon request but did seem to at one time entertain the idea when he told a reporter, “I will take a look” upon being asked about potentially pardoning Maldonado-Passage earlier this year.
A reporter just asked if Trump would pardon Joe Exotic from Tiger King and Trump said, "I will take a look." pic.twitter.com/f0c0R8QmDy
— Kelb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 8, 2020