Joe Exotic in ‘Tiger King’ formally requests pardon maintains innocence

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Joseph Maldonado-Passage also is known as “Joe Exotica” a former Oklahoma zookeeper sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws has formally requested a pardon. Attorney for him filed his application on Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Justice. In it, attorneys for Maldonado-Passage, 57, said he maintains his innocence and that he was “railroaded and betrayed” by others.

His attorney wrote in the 257-page application stating that “Joseph is scheduled to be released from (Bureau of Prisons) custody in 2037; however, with his comprised health, he will likely die in prison. He humbly requests a pardon to correct the injustices he has experienced and to have the opportunity to return to providing meaningful contributions to his community.”

The application also includes several character affidavits, letters of support and various trial documents. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said it would be premature to comment on the application.

Maldonado-Passage was convicted last year of trying to arrange the killing of a Florida animal sanctuary founder, Carole Baskin, who criticized his treatment of animals. Baskin wasn’t harmed. Maldonado-Passage also was convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records.

He was recently featured in the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.” He is currently housed at the Federal Medical Centre, a 1,500-inmate facility in Forth Worth, Texas prison records show.

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