Joe Exotic is demanding to be pardoned by Joe Biden (Picture: Netflix/Kobal/Rex)
Tiger King star Joe Exotic has claimed he’s a victim of ‘kidnapping’ as he demanded to be released from prison where he’s currently serving a 22-year sentence.
Exotic is pleading for yet another presidential pardon – after being denied release by outgoing president Donald Trump – after being locked up for a murder-to-hire plot involving rival in the world of big cats, Carole Baskin.
In audio obtained by The Sun and reported to be of Exotic in a speech for the upcoming Social Media Superstar Awards (SMSA), he insists his conviction should make leaders feel ‘ashamed’ for ‘kidnapping me for a political agenda to only end (the keeping of) big cats in America.’
Speaking from the Fort Worth Medical Center, in Texas, he went on to slam his conviction as a ‘conspiracy’ and insisted it was something only President Joe Biden can make right, asking the leader to ‘sign every pardon on his desk’.
Excusing himself of any wrongdoing during the past two decades, the Netflix star insisted that he has ‘compassion’ for animals – despite a conviction for shooting tigers dead. He added he would use his platform to campaign for ‘justice and prison reform’.
He was heard saying: ‘What has been done to me puts a black cloud over our entire justice system in America and our leaders of this great country should be ashamed that our own Department of Justice can take part in kidnapping me for a political agenda to only end big cats in America.
The former zookeeper is serving 22 years in prison (Picture: AP)
‘I intend to use my new platform to speak for justice and prison reform and speak for the thousands of men and women in this country who have been wrongfully convicted or over sentenced in this country for simply no reason other than for profit.’
In the audio he also thanked his husband Dillon Passage, after insisting the pair remained married despite their public break-up announcement earlier this year, and added of his mission to help children born with cleft palates.
Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, had been seeking clemency from the former president alongside the likes of his son Donald Junior before president-elect Biden took office.
He had hinted at a ‘new line of evidence’ that would assist him in being granted a pardon.
Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2019, after being found guilty of two counts of hiring someone to murder his rival, Baskin, on eight counts of violating the Lacey Act by falsifying wildlife records, and on nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act by killing five tigers and for selling tigers across state lines.
Baskin previously asked Trump not to release Exotic, who is currently due for release in 2037.
The documentary star was said to be confident he would be pardoned by Trump, with private investigator Love revealing to Metro.co.uk he had a limo on standby near his prison.