Tiger King's Joe Exotic officially requests pardon from Donald Trump
Netflix's Tiger King gives viewers an inside look at the world of wildcat ownership in the United States with a focus on zookeeper Joe Exotic, born Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the self-proclaimed Tiger King. Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for his role in a murder-for-hire plot against his nemesis, Carole Baskin, and for crimes against his animals.
In a handwritten letter from Maldonado-Passage, he pleads for the president to pardon him, claiming he had an unfair trial.
"I grew up having faith in our system until I became trapped in it," the two-page note shared by CBS News reads. "I see what they do to you and can't believe it. But when I saw 2 Asst. U.S. attorneys, 2 F.B.I. agents and 1 Federal Wildlife Agent set in court and know their witnesses were lying under oath and even helped them, I was ashamed of our country. Men and women fighting and losing their lives for this country and our own federal agents and D.O.J. lying against their own oath of office to further an agenda for 3 known criminals instead of finding real justice."
Trump was asked during a pandemic press conference in April whether or not he'd consider pardoning Maldonado-Passage, on the heels of his son, Donald Trump Jr. jokingly saying he'd advocate on his behalf. The president wasn't familiar with the case but told the reporter he'd "look into it."
Maldonado-Passage pleads further in his letter that he'd like to be released from his cage so he can save his 86-year-old dad and live his life with his husband, Dillon Passage. But more importantly, he maintains the prime reseason he wants his freedom is to "return to helping sick children and the homeless."
Throughout his time in prison, Maldonado-Passage served part of his sentence in Oklahoma's Grandy County Jail before he was transfered to Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Fort Worth after a coronavirus outbreak in the former.
From behind bars, Maldonado-Passage filed a federal lawsuit in March against various government agencies and his former business partner Jeff Lowe for $94 million for loss of property, false arrest, false imprisonment, selective enforcement, and the death of his mother, Shirley.
In his official plea to the White House, he claims he was sexually assaulted by prison guards. A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons denies those claims.
"There was no such assault," they said in a statement to People.