You know him best as Joe Exotic, but when he was found guilty of hiring someone to kill Carole Baskin, as well as a handful of other charges relating to animals, he was sentenced as Joseph Maldonado-Passage. A federal jury found him guilty on multiple charges, which included — aside from murder for hire — eight counts of violating the Lacey Act by falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act for killing five tigers and selling tigers across state lines.
As a result, Tiger King subject Joe Exotic was expected to spend decades in prison. But how long is Joe Exotic really slated to spend behind bars as he continues to maintain his innocence for most, if not all, of the convictions?
What is Joe Exotic's prison release date?
In January 2020, Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison, making his release date sometime in the year 2037. In early 2021, he even tried to receive an official pardon from former President Donald Trump, but, clearly, that didn't happen. When President Joe Biden was sworn in, Joe Exotic shifted gears and set his sights on getting the newly inaugurated president to pardon him instead.
According to TMZ, Joe Exotic sent multiple emails to President Biden from prison asking for a pardon and even addressed Vice President Kamala Harris, imploring her to fight for his freedom. As of right now, no political official has sided with the idea of pardoning or overturning any of Joe Exotic's convictions.
Carole Baskin was willing to help him get out sooner, but it looks like she's over 'Tiger King' as a whole.
The one person who might have had a hand in changing Joe Exotic's prison release date is the woman he was accused of trying to have killed, the charge that landed him in jail in the first place. Carole Baskin's husband Howard Baskin told Mirror that he and Carole would be willing to help Joe Exotic's case if he would be willing to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act to prevent private ownership of lions and tigers and the exploitation of them.
Carole said to Entertainment Tonight at the time that she wanted to see action from Joe Exotic first, however.
"I wouldn't seek a reduced sentence for Joe based upon him just saying he'd help end cub handling," she said. "I think he'd say anything, but not actually do it. He'd have to actually work with authorities to bring all of his buddies to justice and work with legislators to end cub handling. Then, I'd want him to be rewarded for having done the right thing."
Joe Exotic, on the other hand, told Entertainment Tonight that he wanted to see Carole hold up her end of the bargain or not say anything at all.
"It is time for Carole and Howard to put up or shut the hell up because I'm accepting their offer. And I'm gonna take it one step further than that, OK?"
He said that Carole and Howard need to call President Biden "or whoever they need to that they've got in their little financial pocket" and let them know what he is willing to do for a pardon or reduced sentence.
It seems like that plan didn't go over so well, and not only is Carole back on telling Joe to go kick rocks, but she's even suing Netflix.
She isn't too happy with the fact that footage of her and her big cat sanctuary was used for Tiger King 2. To her understanding, all of the footage was restricted for use with the show's first batch of episodes.
But none of that matters to Joe Exotic, who still remains incarcerated with his 2037 prison release date unchanged.
'Tiger King' Season 2 will focus on Joe Exotic's time in prison.
There's a lot more to the Joe Exotic story that directors Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode can mine. While the first season touches on a ton of digressions from its "main" true-crime narrative, Season 2 may just be all about Joe Exotic's struggle to be freed from prison and all of the ways he's gone about doing it, from seeking multiple Presidential Pardons to trying to leverage panic around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second season debuts on Netflix on Nov. 17, 2021. Are you excited to binge-watch it?