Tiger King’s Joe Exotic is set to ask Donald Trump for a presidential pardon to release him from his 22-year prison sentence, which he’s serving for animal abuse and hiring a hitman to murder his nemesis Carole Baskin.
The eccentric zoo owner was jailed in September 2018, but has since gone on to achieve global fame after the release of Netflix’s hugely successful documentary series in March. According to TMZ, Exotic’s legal team are determined to capitalise on his newfound notoriety, and are preparing a case file for Trump, claiming that Exotic was wrongly convicted of murder-for-hire.
In an attempt to spread the message, Exotic’s supporters have decorated a ‘Team Tiger’ bus with the words, ‘President Trump, please pardon Joe Exotic’. The president previously said he would “take a look” at Exotic’s case, but admitted he knew “nothing about it”.
TMZ lists a number of reasons for Exotic’s pardon in relation to the murder-for-hire charge, including the fact that the zoo owner told everyone that he would pay to have Carole killed. “Typically, people who seriously hire people to kill people don’t tell everyone who would listen that they’re marketing a murder plot,” the publication wrote. TMZ also referred to the fact that the hired hitman, Allen Glover – who was the star witness at Exotic’s trial – described his prison sentence as “payback”, owing to a rivalry the two had while working at the zoo.
Despite the popularity of Tiger King, it’s unlikely that Exotic will be receiving a pardon any time soon, especially given the current coronavirus crisis. In the meantime, he can make a start on the radio show he wants to launch in prison, and prepare to watch not one, but two Tiger King sequels.