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By James Hibberd
January 20, 2021 at 08:38 PM EST
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Joe Exotic slammed President – wait, wait – former President Donald Trump for not giving him a pardon on Wednesday.

Netflix's Tiger King star was expecting clemency from Trump, and even had a stretch limo standing by outside his prison in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump handed out 73 pardons and 70 commutations to an assortment of white-collar criminals, cronies and rappers (such as Lil Wayne and Kodak Black) – but not to the infamous zookeeper.

Joseph-Maldonado-Passage
Joe Exotic
| Credit: JoeExoticTV/Youtube

"I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump," the 57-year-old Exotic, a.k.a. Joseph Maldonado-Passage, wrote on Twitter. "I only mattered to Don Jr. when he needed to make a comment about me to boost his social media post. Boy were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for Equal Justice? His corrupt friends all come first."

Exotic is serving a 22-year sentence for participating in a murder-for-hire plot and violation of wildlife laws.

Donald Trump Jr.  said during a radio interview last April that Exotic's sentence sounded "aggressive" and jokingly said he was going to advocate for a pardon. Later that month, during a press conference, Trump said he would "take a look" at Exotic's case.

Exotic's arch-rival, zoo owner Carole Baskin, took a victory lap on Fox News on Wednesday.

"I'm taking a deep breath because I feel such a sense of relief," said Baskin, who a judge awarded Exotic's Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma last year. "From the very time that he was sentenced I have worried about there being a presidential pardon that could undo all of the hard work that went into bringing this person to justice. When today at noon a new president was sworn in, I felt like I was finally safe from that threat."

In September, Exotic sent a handwritten letter to Trump pleading for a pardon. "If I have ever looked up to anyone it would be you," he wrote. "Not because I need you to save my life, but because you stand for what you believe no matter what anyone thinks ... I am begging you to listen to the millions who see the truth... Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please."

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