Donald Trump has previously joked in his whirling coronavirus press conferences about issuing Tiger King Joe Exotic with a presidential pardon. And now it seems the rogue animal breeder, sent to prison for a murder-for-hire plot against his archrival Carole Baskin, is going to start actively lobbying the White House for one.
Sources connected to the mullet-sporting, gun-toting, bigamously married gay Oklahoma zookeeper have told TMZ that Exotic’s legal team in Texas is preparing a case file that will be sent on to Trump, claiming Exotic was wrongly convicted for planning an attempt to kill Baskin.
TMZ has posted images of a bus wrapped with the slogan “President Trump, Please Pardon Joe Exotic,” and reports his team plans to roll out a big announcement in the next few days.
As viewers of the hit Netflix series will already know, Exotic constantly told people around him that he wanted Baskin dead and even acted out mock killings of her on his web TV channel.
It also appears Exotic’s defense will hinge on the credibility of Allen Glover, a onetime zoo employee turned purported hitman. He became the star witness at Joe’s trial, testifying that he was given $3,000 for the job.
On a TMZ special on Fox, Glover was clear that he was happy to help get Exotic sent down the river and used the term “payback” for the sentence. Such comments raise the possibility that Exotic could now make an argument that Allen was a biased witness.
The Netflix series chronicles the extraordinary, decades-long battle between Exotic and Baskin. Baskin claims that Exotic abused animals in cub-petting operations while she rescues them and wants to see shoddy breeding operations such as Exotic’s closed down. Exotic has argued that she is a fraud. State and federal inspectors shut down his Oklahoma site after finding several instances of serious mistreatment of the animals, which led to his conviction on an additional 17 federal charges of animal abuse.
As a result of Exotic’s allegations on the show, Baskin was forced to publicly deny his claims that she murdered her second husband, Don Lewis, 23 years ago and fed him to her tigers.
Exotic went as far as to make a video showing a woman, who bore a deliberate resemblance to Baskin, tossing meat to a big cat.
As viewers of the series—which lifts the lid on the bizarre world of backyard tiger keepers, zookeeper rivalries, and blackmail and betrayal in the exotic-animal trade—will know, Exotic is in prison, serving 22 years for plotting to murder Baskin.