Joe Exotic Was Resentenced to 21 Years in Prison
by Kenna McCafferty
28 January 2022
Tiger King's Joe Exotic, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, will serve 21 years in prison for the failed murder-for-higher plot targeting Carol Baskin, a federal judge announced today.
The new ruling reduces his sentence by one year, following an appeal by Maldonado-Passage’s legal team that the original trial wrongly treated two murder-for-hire convictions separately in calculating his prison term.
In July, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the court should’ve treated his two attempts at hiring different men to murder Baskin as one conviction, given they involved the same target. Today’s ruling was long-awaited for the quarantine season one superstar, who announced his diagnosis with prostate cancer in early November in the hopes of fast-tracking the new ruling.
The second ruling comes a year after the former zookeeper was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Prosecutors argued that Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin, while the defendants claimed the former owner of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park was not being serious. Maldonado-Passage, also convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records, maintains his innocence. His attorneys shared they are likely to appeal the re-sentencing and petition for a new trial.
With a courtroom packed full of supporters donning “Free Joe Exotic” paraphernalia, it seems the fight is still not over.
Baskin herself, also attended the proceedings, alongside her husband, though fearful that Maldonado-Passage could threaten her, given their long, and well-documented rivalry. “He continues to harbor intense feelings of ill-will toward me,” said the self-proclaimed animal rights activist and owner of Big Cat Rescue, whose legal battles have been similarly unsuccessful. Baskin recently dropped her suit against Netflix’s Tiger King 2 from airing.
Joe Exotic seems unlikely to relent, as someone who pleaded President Trump for a Presidential Pardon, and urged Kim Kardashian to advocate for him, this is likely not the last we’ll hear from his team.
Photo courtesy of 5W PR