‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic sentenced to 21 years in prison

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A federal judge sentenced “Tiger King” Joe Exotic to 21 years in prison on Friday, reducing his sentence just a year after an appeals court issued a new ruling.

Joe Exotic – real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage – was convicted in a hired murder case involving animal rights activist Carole Baskin. Both were featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Maldonado-Passage has come under fire after a federal appeals court ruled last year that inappropriate sentencing guidelines were used.

Prosecutors said Maldonado-Passage tried to hire two people – including an undercover FBI agent – to kill Baskin, who had criticized his treatment of animals. But Maldonado-Passage’s lawyers say he’s not serious.

Some Maldonado-Passage supporters gathered in the courtroom, some wearing animal-print masks and T-shirts that read: “Free Joe Exotic.”

The court also tried Baskin, who testified that she feared that Maldonado-Passage might threaten her.

“He continued to harbor intense feelings of malice toward me,” she said.

Last month, lawyers said Maldonado-Passage was delaying prostate cancer treatment until after he was challenged.

Before revenge on Friday

Last year, an appeals court ruled that the prison sentence Maldonado-Passage is serving for murder for hire should be shortened.

Maldonado-Passage is scheduled to be sentencing Friday in Oklahoma City after a judge approved his transfer from a federal medical center in Butner, North Carolina. Last month, attorneys for the former Oklahoma Zoo employee said he is delaying prostate cancer treatment until after his sentencing.

In January 2020, the former zookeeper was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2020 after he was found guilty of trying to hire two different men to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Maldonado-Passage that the court should have treated them as a convict because they both had the same goal of killing Baskin, operates a big cat rescue sanctuary in Florida and has criticized Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of the animals.

Both were featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”. The show was a resounding success as people were forced to stay at home during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin during a taped meeting in December 2017. In the recording, he tells the agent, “It’s like following her into a mall parking lot and just gagging her and driving away.” Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys said their client – who used to run a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, about 65 miles (105 km) south of Oklahoma City – was not taking it seriously.

Other ‘Joe Exotic’ Convictions

Maldonado-Passage, who maintained his chastity, was also found guilty of killing five tigers, selling cubs and falsifying wildlife records. His lawyers are demanding a lower sentence than what the guidelines call for, alleging “imperfect seduction, sentencing manipulation and outrageous government conduct.”

“From decisions made in the early stages of the investigation to conviction decisions to excessive sentencing recommendations, one thing remains clear: this case is doing whatever is necessary. Maldonado-Passage behind bars for as long as possible,” his attorney wrote in a sentencing memo.

Federal prosecutors said in court filings that they would postpone recommending a new sentence to Maldonado-Passage because of the charges he brought.

“In the unlikely event that any of these statements withstand scrutiny and are ultimately determined to be reliable, those developments could influence the final sentencing recommendation. of the United States” because prosecutors are obligated to investigate them, wrote US Attorney Robert Troester.

https://kdvr.com/news/tiger-king-joe-exotic-resentenced-to-21-years-in-prison/ ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic sentenced to 21 years in prison

Tom Vazquez

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