Joe Exotic stated his intention to issue a formal pardon request to Donald Trump a few months ago, and Trump said he’d be willing to “take a look” at the situation. Because there aren’t enough real issues going on in the world, it looks like the Tiger King star has now compiled a 257-page letter pleading his case and is sending it off to the White House this week.
According to TMZ, Joe Exotic, aka Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, is sending a team of loyal supporters and lawyers to Washington, DC with the hope of getting the case file in front of Trump. Included among the documents is a letter from Joe to Donald Trump Jr. in which he lays out his plea for a pardon. In addition to raising health concerns stemming from his various medical issues (anemia and variable immune deficiency among them), the true-crime figure claims to “have been sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms.” He also writes that, “My hands are damaged from the abuse in jail so I’m sorry for the soppy [sic] writing and spelling.”
TMZ’s sources in the federal prison system told the outlet “there was no such assault.”
In a clear attempt to appeal to Trump’s own taste for using the “just joshin’ around” excuse for his ludicrous statements and claims, Maldonado-Passage goes on to insist his threats to kill Carole Baskin were “hyperbole.” His lawyers add in the documents that any “threats” were “simply another aspect of his showmanship… Joe’s jokes, at most, in bad taste, were merely jokes.” (What’s worse about this line of argument is that, considering the arbiter, it could work.)
Elsewhere in his letter, Joe Exotic says he believes his conviction stemmed from homophobia. He blames his 22-year sentence for murder-for-hire and violations of both the Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act on everyone from his former partner Jeff Lowe to the judge in his case. (He’s already suing the government agencies involved in the Act violations.) The letter comes to an end with a direct appeal to trump. “Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please,” Joe writes, adding, “#TrumpJr.2024.” Oh God, no.
The case file also includes number of character references, such as one from Joe’s husband, Dillon Passage. “I see a sweet, big heart man, with good intentions, who took a few steps down a dark road, and he’s just waiting to be pulled out of it,” Passage writes, adding that Joe Exotic saved him from drug addiction.
There’s also a note from a Kerri Walker, whose cousin worked at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. She states that Joe Exotic got a “raw deal,” somehow comparing his situation to the complete lack of repercussions Trump faced from the Access Hollywood tape.
Joe Exotic, who donated to Trump’s 2016 campaign in an attempt to meet the then-candidate, is banking on Trump returning the favor and granting him a pardon as he did for other convicted criminals-turned-GOP celebrities like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich, and former NYC police chief Bernie Kirk. For Joe’s sake, hopefully there are plenty of charts and pretty pictures for Trump to wrap his head around.
As for other goings-on in the Tiger King universe, Lowe recently shut down Tiger King zoo in advance of handing the property over to Baskin by the end of September. (A judge recently ruled that Joe Exotic fraudulently transferred the property to his mother in a move “to evade creditors” and avoid paying Baskin a $1 million settlement she’d won in a 2011 trademark lawsuit.) Baskin will likely take some time to figure out what to do with the zoo, as she’s currently preparing to join Dancing with the Stars Season 29. Meanwhile, Joe Exotic himself recently launched his own brand of underwear. America, amiright?