Gay reality TV star Joe Exotic has begged Donald Trump for a presidential pardon to get him out of jail.
The reality TV star came to fame in the hit Netflix series Tiger King this year. But in January a court sentenced him to 22 years in prison over his plot to kill his rival Carol Baskin and for killing five tigers in his zoo.
Now DailyMail.com has seen a copy of a handwritten letter he’s sent to Trump appealing for clemency. In it, he tells the president he wants to go home to his husband and ‘return to helping sick children and the homeless’.
Moreover he adds: ‘If I have ever looked up to anyone it would be you.
‘Not because I need you to save my life but because you stand for what YOU believe no matter what anyone thinks.’
After begging for a pardon, he concludes the letter:
‘Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please.’
How Exotic’s story ended in the murder plot
The 57-year-old, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, became a household name around the world earlier this year. His Netflix series, Tiger King, hit the screens just as many countries started coronavirus lockdowns.
The series follows ‘redneck homosexual’ Exotic and the fate of the roadside zoo he created.
However it’s not just the animals who add the drama. Joe has two husbands, and a vast range of queer, colorful, crazy and criminal friends and foes. To that mix you can add meth, guns and genital piercings.
But as GSN reported in 2018, Joe Exotic’s legal troubles date back long before he found fame.
Likewise, the Tiger King series also tracked the conflict between Exotic and Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue. She accuses him of animal abuse. In particular he says his breeding programs, conditions and allowing visitors to pet lion and tiger cubs are cruel.
In return, he accuses her of hypocrisy, undermining his income and of harassing him.
After a series of twists, it culminates with an attempted murder which has now landed Exotic with 22 years in jail.
However, in his letter to President Trump, Exotic disputes that conviction. He says that everything he worked for was ‘stolen by criminals’. And he adds he is ‘begging you to listen to the millions who see the truth’.
In particular he says threats he made against Baskin were merely jokes. Moreover, he admits killing the tigers but says they needed euthanasia.
He goes on: ‘I grew up having faith in our system until I became trapped in it.’
Trump Jr becomes an ally
Meanwhile, he is also putting his faith in Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. Back in April, Trump Jr said he felt Exotic’s prison term was ‘aggressive’. However his assessment appears to be based on a cursory perusing of the show rather than a careful weighing of legal evidence.
At the time he commented: ‘I watched the show but I don’t know exactly what he was guilty of or wasn’t. It doesn’t seem like he was totally innocent of anything. But when they’re saying, “We’re putting this guy away for 30 years.” I’m saying, “That seems … sort of aggressive.”’
In a letter to Trump Jr on Facebook in June, Exotic tells the president’s son ‘I truly have faith in you’.
Exotic then goes on to claim he’s the victim of ‘fake news’ as well as ‘bad agents, bad cops and bad prosecutors’.
Moreover, he claims jail staff sexually assaulted him while in Grady County jail in Oklahoma.
He tells Trump Jr: ‘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.’
The jail has denied Maldonado-Passage’s claims. Meanwhile the authorities have now transferred him to federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.
Earlier this year, President Trump said he would consider a pardon after his son highlighted the case.
Now Exotic is hoping his appeal dossier will find favor. Private investigator Eric Love will present it to the White House today.
In it, Exotic includes a personal statement from his husband Dillon Passage.
Passage writes: ‘I see a sweet, big heart man, with good intentions, who took a few steps down a dark road, and he’s just waiting to be pulled out of it.’
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