Fort Worth

Legal Team for ‘Joe Exotic' Says They Believe He Will Receive Pardon From President Trump

Joseph Maldonado-Passage is serving a 22-year sentence at FMC Fort Worth for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws

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The legal team for Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as "Joe Exotic" from the Netflix documentary "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," says they believe Maldonado-Passage will receive a pardon from President Donald Trump.

Maldonado-Passage, who is being held at Federal Medical Center Fort Worth, was convicted last year of trying to arrange the killing of a Florida animal sanctuary founder, Carole Baskin, who criticized his treatment of animals.

Baskin wasn't harmed. Maldonado-Passage also was convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records.

Baskin founded Big Cat Rescue, a popular animal sanctuary based in Tampa, Florida, dedicated to abused and abandoned animals such as lions, tigers, bobcats, and cougars.

Attorneys for Maldonado-Passage, 57, said he maintains his innocence and filed his application for a pardon Sept. 8 with the U.S. Department of Justice. In it, they say he was "railroaded and betrayed" by others.

The application also includes several character affidavits, letters of support and various trial documents. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said it would be premature to comment on the application.

There was a limousine on standby Tuesday, prepared to pick Maldonado-Passage up from the federal prison, according to Eric Love, a member of the legal team.

Love told NBC 5 Maldonado-Passage would get his hair and makeup done before making any public comments. The legal team has stylists on standby.

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