Joe Exotic tells The Post in a four-page letter from federal prison that “Tiger King 2” proves him to be “innocent,” that former President Donald Trump was “a fool” to not pardon him, and that President Biden ought to grant him clemency.
The 58-year-old former Oklahoma zookeeper, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was convicted in 2019 of paying a hit man $3,000 to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin.
The unlikely Netflix star was sentenced to 22 years in prison last year, but says he dreams of getting out and testifying before Congress against Baskin’s push to restrict ownership of big cats.
The self-described “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet” says Trump disappointed “millions” by not setting him free and he claims that Biden will suffer an electoral backlash if he doesn’t do it.
“President Trump was a fool not to pardon me,” Joe Exotic writes. “Before the election, millions of people were hoping for it as they know I’m innocent, most of this is in TK2 [Tiger King 2] and it will be the same for President Biden, the world will know the truth [when the new season is released] and him and VP [Kamala] Harris ran on justice and prison reform.”
“It would be in the interest of American Justice for President Biden to pardon me before the holidays and charge those with perjury and other suitable charges, or the injustice is really going to cost votes in 2022 as the people wonder if this could happen to them under his watch,” he adds.
Joe Exotic also gripes that federal prison workers are making it tough for him to communicate with reporters by phone or email, which he says made the hand-written snail mail note necessary.
“For 3 years they ‘the Government’ has kept me in isolation, blocked numbers and reporters from my phone, rejected any email that tells the truth to my attorneys, kept me from talking to the press and monitored every legal call I’ve had,” he claims.
Joe Exotic adds: “Now take the standard of care for a chimp[:] cage size, diet, enrichment and compare that to the care of a human in city, county, state or federal. America requires and cares more about the care of a chimp in a zoo then [sic] your family member in jail. How is this possible? Look it up.”
The most dramatic revelation in the new season of “Tiger King” — which premiered last week — comes from Allen Glover, an associate of Jeff Lowe, a former business partner of Joe Exotic who he claims set him up to steal his zoo.
Glover originally told investigators he was hired to kill Baskin. But in “Tiger King 2,” the would-be hitman says he committed perjury.
Glover, an ex-con with a teardrop tattoo that he claims is a tribute to his grandmother and not a murder confession, says in the new season that he and Lowe actually were scheming to murder Joe Exotic. Glover even brings a documentary crew to the spot at the Oklahoma zoo where he said he and Lowe planning to position a wire to decapitate Joe Exotic if he drove by on a four-wheeler at a high speed.
Biden has not yet issued any executive reprieves — despite campaigning on mass-clemency for marijuana inmates and exploring sentence reductions for people temporarily out of prison due to COVID-19 — but Joe Exotic says he’s still hopeful. In the letter, Joe Exotic notes that even his longtime enemy Lowe agreed to assist his legal team as they find common foes in the feds and Baskin.
“Jeff Lowe was videotaping the agents, setting this up, rehersing [sic] their testimony and fabricating evidence the whole time and has turned it all over to my attorneys, 4 cellphones and 3 TB of harddrives,” Joe Exotic writes.
“We have sworn affidavits from Allen Glover stating he lied to the grand jury and to my jury that I done nothing. The feds and Jeff Lowe made him say I did and he under oath admitted that he and Jeff + Lauren Lowe’s original plan was to kill me to get the zoo. And even took [my attorney] John Phillips and the producer of Netflix to Oklahoma to the zoo and showed them where he hid the murder weapon, yes the plan was to kill me and it failed so the[y] set me up to take my zoo.”
Joe Exotic first ripped Trump when the 45th president left office on Jan. 20 without granting him a pardon. The former zookeeper’s supporters had attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the Capitol riot and were so convinced clemency would be granted that they had a limo on standby on Trump’s final day as president. An angry Joe Exotic wrote that he was “too innocent and too GAY” for Trump.
Joe Exotic was abruptly transferred last week from a federal prison in Texas to one in North Carolina, where he will receive treatment for prostate cancer. However, the transfer made it even more difficult for him to reap publicity from the show.
After Joe Exotic went to prison, Baskin assumed control of his zoo as payment of a $1 million legal judgement that went against the tiger king in a 2013 trademark infringement case. Lowe, who had controlled the zoo, transferred most of the animals to a nearby property before most were confiscated by officials for alleged mistreatment.
“My wish is to get out and testify to Congress about the Big Cat Safety Act and what a scam it is to create a monopoly for PETA and Dan Ashe with the [Association of Zoos and Aquariums],” Joe Exotic writes, adding that he strongly opposes the AZA’s role in certifying that zoos are up to snuff.
One politician gets a favorable mention in the letter: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has faced criticism from Baskin for not supporting restrictions on big cat ownership.
“I was the largest breeder in the world. I know everything about their scams is why I’m the only one in jail. They had to kill me or shut me up. I know the truth, let me speak. Senator Ted Cruz knows the truth. I need America to be my voice!” Joe Exotic wrote.
Joe Exotic’s 22-year sentence is in the process of being reduced pursuant to a July federal appeals court ruling. In addition to his murder-for-hire conviction, he was convicted of 17 criminal counts of doctoring animal records and killing and selling tigers.
Spokespeople for Baskin, Biden, Trump and the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for comment.