Joseph Maldonado-Passage — better known as "Joe Exotic" — was arrested September 2018 and faces 22 years in prison for attempting to murder his rival, Carole Baskin, as well as abusing and killing tigers. But you already know this if you binged The Tiger King, the Netflix docuseries that takes a deep dive into the bizarre and deranged world of exotic zoos and wild cat collecting. Since his arrest, Joe Exotic has been pleading with just about anyone who will listen to make the case that he's innocent and should be released from prison.
And his team is taking that plea very seriously. So seriously, that Exotic is closer than ever to actually being pardoned, thanks to Trump.
Was Joe Exotic pardoned? Will he be?
Joe Exotic hasn't been pardoned, but his team is allegedly spending thousands of dollars trying to get Trump's attention so that he can pardon Exotic before he finishes his term. Exotic's attorney is feeling confident that Trump might just pardon him, especially after the former exotic zoo owner's legal team spent over $10,000 at the Trump hotel. "We are waiting on the pen to hit the paper, we think we are very, very close," Eric Love, one of Exotic's attorneys stated. Love also claims that he's gotten calls from DC about the pardon.
Love told TMZ that they even signed an agreement with a limo company that'll be on 24-hour standby "just in case" Exotic gets released from prison and needs a very attention-getting ride. Super on brand. A source, per ABC News, states, "We've heard from the Tiger King. You wouldn't believe the amount of calls, some insane, we've gotten." Some people even believe that Exotic's team is responsible for trying funnel money into the White House in exchange for a pardon (this hasn't been confirmed).
On top of that, Exotic himself sent Trump a handwritten letter asking to be pardoned and showered him with plenty of praise. "If I have ever looked up to anyone, it would be you, not because I need you to save my life, but because you stand for what you believe in, no matter what anyone thinks," Exotic wrote, saying that even though he thought about running for president, he ended up voting for Trump back in 2016.
Back in April, Trump told a reporter asking about Joe Exotic's pardon that he'd "take a look." This was after Don Jr. joked about his dad pardoning Exotic and claiming that his sentence was way too "aggressive." The president's son said, "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."
Twitter's reaction to Joe Exotic's potential pardon is pretty hilarious. Because let's be real, Trump pardoning a guy convicted of attempting to murder someone and killing tigers is only to expected at this point, sadly enough.
With Trump as president for one more month, we better buckle up, because it's probably going to be an unreal ride. We already know Cardi B. is on Exotic's side.