‘Tiger King’ seeking pardon after he says he is showing signs of cancer

Oklahoma

GRADY COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – The ‘Tiger King’ is once again asking for a presidential pardon after he says he is showing signs of cancer.

In 2018, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic” and former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Animal Park, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of murder-for-hire.

Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage gave a person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to Florida to carry out the murder of big cat activist Carole Baskin and “allegedly agreed to pay thousands more after the deed,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage

A grand jury also indicted Maldonado-Passage on an additional 19 counts of wildlife charges, including the violation of the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act.

Prosecutors say he shot and killed five tigers in October 2017 to make room in cages for other big cats, and sold tiger cubs to raise money.

He was also accused of falsifying records relating to the tigers, lions and a baby lemur which were purportedly being donated or transported for exhibition, but were actually sold.

Officials offered evidence in the form of recordings of Maldonado-Passage negotiating the hiring of an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a hitman. When talking about payment, Maldonado-Passage reportedly said, “I’ll just sell a bunch of tigers.”

The intended target of the hit was Carole Baskin, a chief critic of Maldonado-Passage. Baskin successfully sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark infringement in 2011, and was outspoken about the treatment of animals at the park.

ILE - In this July 20, 2017 file photo, Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Fla. Baskin was married to Jack “Don” Lewis, whose 1997 disappearance remains unsolved and is the subject of a new Netflix series “Tiger King.” (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)
FILE – In this July 20, 2017 file photo, Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Fla. Baskin was married to Jack “Don” Lewis, whose 1997 disappearance remains unsolved and is the subject of a new Netflix series “Tiger King.” (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

The defense claimed their client was framed. They say he was all talk and had no intention of wanting Baskin dead.

The former Greater Wynnewood Animal Park owner was found guilty on all counts in 2019.

He was ultimately sentenced to a total of 22 years in prison for all of the convictions. Officials say he was sentenced to nine years in prison for each of the murder-for-hire convictions, and four years for the wildlife violations.

In January, Joe Exotic was confident that he would receive a pardon from former President Donald Trump.

However, that pardon never came.

Now, Joe Exotic says his lawyer is working on a new presidential pardon after he says he is showing signs of cancer.

“John Philips has received my medical records from FMC Fort Worth and my PSA count came back very high for prostate cancer. The prison has approved testing to verify what stage it is in. My body is tired, I have lost a tremendous amount of weight, the mouth sores are out of control, I throw up more than I eat. I don’t want anyone’s pity what I need is when John Phillips gets the evidence he is working on, I need the world to help him get President Biden, VP Harris and the Attorney General to listen to the evidence and see that it’s not just city cops out of control with corruption, but his very own Department of Justice and make this right and sign that pardon that Trump left behind so I can go home and get proper medical care and proper food. Thank you for all the love and support from all over the world. I love you all. Wish me luck,” Maldonado-Passage posted on Twitter.

Maldonado-Passage says he has an appointment with an oncologist later this month, where a biopsy will be performed.

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