Today Joe Exotic will find out whether he has been given a presidential pardon by Donald Trump.
The Tiger King star, who is currently serving a 22-year sentence for animal abuse and a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin, is hoping to be freed by President Trump before Joe Biden is inaugurated as the next leader of the US.
It’s expected that Trump will hand out 100 pardons in the hours he has remaining in the White House.
Exotic’s team, who are confident that he will be freed, already have a limo ready and waiting for him near his prison in Texas.
The former zookeeper, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, revealed that the first thing he wants to do as a free man is have his hair cut.
Here’s a timeline of what has happened so far
Donald Trump said he would ‘take a look’ into Exotic being pardoned
In April 2020, Trump said he would ‘take a look’ at pardoning Exotic, despite knowing nothing about the Netflix hit, Tiger King.
Trump’s pledge came after one journalist asked: ‘One of the biggest rating hits of the coronavirus, aside from these briefings, is a show on Netflix called Tiger King.
‘The man who is the star of this, a former zoo owner, is serving a 22 year prison sentence, he’s asking you for a pardon, that he was unfairly convicted, your son jokingly said he’d advocate for it and I was wondering if you’d seen the show and had any thoughts on pardoning Joe Exotic?’
‘I know nothing about his 22 years so what did he do?’ asked Trump.
‘Allegedly hired someone to murder an animal rights activist but he said that he didn’t do that,’ the journalist answered.
The President probed: ‘Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon? I’ll take a look.’
Exotic seeks pardon from Trump
One month after Trump said he ‘would look into’ pardoning the former zookeeper, Exotic’s legal team were reportedly ‘preparing a case file’.
According to TMZ, sources connected to Exotic have alleged that ‘the star’s legal team in Texas is preparing a case file that will be sent on to Trump, claiming Joe was wrongly convicted for the murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin.’
Exotic’s husband Dillon Passage launches petition to get Exotic pardoned
In May 2020, Dillon shared details of an online campaign in a video posted on Instagram.
‘If I could get any of you to go sign it, that would be awesome,’ Dillon said at the time.
‘Anything and everything that you guys can do counts and it matters and it’s so much appreciated. We’re gonna get our dude out of there.’
‘We’ve put this petition together because President Trump said he was willing to hear Joe’s case,’ the petition bio reads.
‘That’s why the crew is doing everything possible to rally support and get over 500,000 signatures on this petition!’
On top of the petition, Dillon also explained to his followers that he wanted to drive to the US capital in hope to catch Trump’s attention with his tour bus.
Tiger King star warns Exotic ‘will be out for revenge’ if pardon approved
In June 2020, Rick Kirkham warned that Exotic will be ‘out for his revenge’ if he manages to get a presidential pardon from jail.
Rick, who worked alongside Joe as his film producer for years before being unceremoniously fired, spoke out against his former boss and friend’s fight for release.
‘Anyone who would support Joe being let go and out of jail has no idea that this was a man who will hold the revenge,’ he told The Sun at the time.
‘He will get revenge and he’s not going to come out a better man or a whole person.
‘This is a guy that holds a grudge and he will get his revenge.’
Exotic claims he was ‘sexually assaulted’ in prison
In September 2020, Exotic claimed that has been sexually assaulted and beaten by jail staff during a new plea to Trump for a presidential pardon.
In a new 257-page plea to US Department of Justice, Exotic included a series of letters he sent to both Trump, and his son Donald Trump Jr, in which he’s made claims of mistreatment.
According to TMZ, the letter read: ‘I have been sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms.’
‘Please be my hero … my hands are damaged from the abuse in jail so I’m sorry for the soppy (sic) writing and spelling,’ another section stated.
Carole Baskin urges Trump not to Pardon Exotic
Baskin appeared on an Australian chat show in November 2020, where she urged the President not to pardon Exotic.
Appearing on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show, Baskin pleaded: ‘I can’t believe that would be a good move for anybody’s political career – given the fact that he (Joe Exotic) was convicted for two counts of murder for hire and 17 counts of wildlife trafficking and abuse, which included shooting five healthy tigers in the head to make room for some circus cats he wanted.’
‘Animal Planet did a poll and the world’s favourite animal is a tiger, so what benefit would anybody have of setting that person loose?’ The Big Cat Rescue owner continued.
Exotic asks for Kim Kardashian’s support
In December 2020, Exotic is thought to have reached out to Kim Kardashian in a bid to get out of prison.
The star reportedly reached out to the Keeping Up With The Kardashians favourite over her work with criminal justice reform.
In a letter to Kim dated November 4, obtained by Entertainment Tonight, he wrote: ‘I know you have never met me and may never want to however I do believe that you hold the values of our justice system dear to your heart.
‘I am writing you this letter not as Joe Exotic but as the person Joseph Maldonado-Passage, asking you to please help me by just taking 10 minutes out of your life and placing a call to President Trump to look at my 257 page pardon it’s all the evidence I’m innocent and ask him to sign my pardon so I can return home to [my husband] Dillon [Passage] and my father.’
Exotic seeks urgent pardon after his ‘father dies from Covid-19’
According to TMZ, Exotic’s legal team were pushing for the presidential pardon to ‘be sped up’ in the wake of his father’s death.
Earlier this month, Joe Exotic’s legal team flew out to Washington DC for a meeting at the White House in relation to their pardon plea, using a chartered jet wrapped with the reality star’s name and image.
They were hoping to seek an immediate pardon so that Exotic could attend his father’s funeral.
Exotic’s team are confident he will be pardoned
Private investigator Eric Love, who is leading Exotic’s case, is confident he will be pardoned.
‘This time tomorrow, we’re going to be celebrating,’ he told Metro.co.uk. ‘We have good reason to believe it will come through.
‘We’re confident enough we already have a limousine parked about half a mile from the prison. We are really in action mode right now.
‘I’ve got make-up, wardrobe, the whole unit that will come up. The first thing Joe wants to do, he wants his hair done.’
Credit: Original article published here.