Joe Exotic’s legal team say they ‘respect’ Donald Trump’s decision to not grant him a pardon despite them being so confident he’d be released from jail that they prepared a limo to pick the Tiger King star up from jail.
Out of the 143 pardons and commutations granted by Trump, Exotic was not one of them, which left Tiger King fans ‘absolutely livid’.
On Tuesday night, the outgoing president, 74, granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued during his final hours in office.
Exotic, 57, Julian Assange, 49, or Edward Snowden, 37, were all expected to be considered for clemency, but Trump didn’t grant it to them. Trump did pardon other high-profile names and rappers Lil Wayne, 38, and Kodak Black, 23, who were prosecuted on federal weapons offenses.
‘It is the President’s Constitutional right to Pardon and we have to accept and respect his use of discretion. Our mission is just and continues,’ Exotic’s lawyer, Francisco Hernandez, shared in a Facebook post Wednesday morning.
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Joe Exotic’s legal team was so confident that Donald Trump would pardon him that they booked him a limo to pick him up from prison
Team Tiger were ‘absolutely confident’ Exotic would receive a pardon and had even prepared a limo to pick him up from jail
‘Score remains 0:0 at the end of the first quarter. After an aggressive first quarter Hail Mary, team tiger didn’t score. Three quarters to go. #freejoeexotic,’ Hernandez added.
Exotic’s legal team had expected a pardon from the outgoing president and were even ready to pick him up in a limo from a Fort Worth prison to immediately get his hair done before seeing his husband Dillon Passage.
Eric Love, a private investigator who is a part of Team Tiger, said early on Tuesday that Team Tiger expected the pardon ‘very soon’.
DailyMail.com reached out to Love for additional comment and details.
But Love told KOCO on Monday: ‘We delivered everything that I want to do on this project and I am absolutely confident that we will receive the pardon tomorrow. I worked very hard on it.’
Team Tiger had a Dodge SUV limo rented from Heaven on Wheels ‘standing by‘ to whisk Maldonado-Passage from FMC Prison in Fort Worth ‘to a secure location.’
Florida attorney John Phillips, the lawyer representing Anne McQueen, who was featured in Tiger King, told KOCO that insiders have told him Trump’s main focus was on people who have closer ties to him.
‘The hit TV show of COVID, I don’t think has the political capital. It’s a lack of lobbyists. It’s a lack of funds. It’s a lack of being able to play the game in Washington, DC,’ Phillips said.
‘Now, don’t get me wrong, President Trump is unpredictable. Can Trump just put his name down and it get approved? Yes. But there are so many people seeking pardons right now that affect Trump’s life after the presidency,’ Phillips said.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, has served roughly two years of a 22-year sentence after he was convicted on 17 federal charges in 2019 for animal abuse and an attempted murder-for-hire plot on Carole Baskin.
Maldonado-Passage, 57, who owned and operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, shot to fame after Netlfix released its hit Tiger King series at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Final hours: On Tuesday night, the outgoing president, 74, granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued during his final hours in office
The full list of recipients was said to be 143. Trump, however, did not name Joe Exotic, 57, pictured in his mug shot, Julian Assange, 49, or Edward Snowden, 37, who were all expected to be considered for clemency
Tiger King fans were left dfurious and ‘upset’ over Exotic missing out on the outgoing president’s clemency spree as they took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
One person said: ‘Absolutely livid that I’ve woken up to find Donald Trump didn’t pardon Joe Exotic on his last day.’
A different fan wrote: ‘Well annoyed trump didn’t pardon Joe Exotic.’
Another follower commented: ‘Anyone else actually disappointed that President Trump didn’t pardon Joe Exotic? Imagine what season 2 of Tiger King would have been like.’
A different account noted: ‘Sad that Joe Exotic didn’t get a pardon, just because I wanted to be able to tell my kids about it someday, but Lil Wayne is almost as good.’
While another user added: ‘WTF??? #JoeExotic didn’t make the cut for a Presidential pardon???…. there is no Justice.’
With a different fan commenting: ‘Think we’re all secretly a bit disappointed about the lack of a pardon for Joe Exotic.’
However other social media users were bemused over the fact fans thought Exotic would get a pardon from Trump.
Plans: Joe Exotic’s legal team had expected a pardon from the outgoing president and were even ready to pick him up in a limo from a Fort Worth prison to immediately get his hair done before seeing his husband Dillon Passage (pictured together before going to jail)
One person questioned: ‘Wait did people actually want Trump to pardon Joe Exotic..!?’
While another follower added: ‘Why am I so happy he didn’t pardon Joe exotic???’
As well as Exotic, Trump did not grant clemency to himself, his children, or his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani after months of speculation.
On Tuesday night, the outgoing president granted clemency to former White House aide Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued during his final hours in office.
Trump, however, did not name himself among those being pardoned, nor did he name any of his children.
White House advisers had reportedly cautioned Trump against a self-pardon over the last few months because they believed it would make him look guilty of something.
Trump, who officially leaves office later today, appeared to heed their warnings. Joe Biden will be sworn in as Trump’s White House successor on Wednesday.
Anger: Tiger King fans were left ‘absolutely livid’ and ‘upset’ over Exotic missing out on the outgoing president’s clemency spree as they took to Twitter to share their thoughts
Bemused: However other social media users were bemused over the fact fans thought Exotic would get a pardon from the outgoing president
Missing: Also missing from the list was Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Edward Snowden (L-R)
Pardoned: Ahead of his departure, Trump pardoned rapper Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty in federal court in December to illegally possessing a firearm
Last week, Exotic’s legal team flew to Washington, DC, to meet with White House aides for a last-minute pardon discussion.
Love told The Sun at the time that the ‘exit plan’ to take Exotic to a luxury ranch also included a helicopter.
‘The first thing that will happen: Joe will be taken off site and then placed in a helicopter with myself and a security team and an additional helicopter, we are going to go to a remote ranch, that’s remote to Fort Worth,’ he said.
Love added that Exotic will need about 48 hours of ‘decompression’ after being ‘institutionalized.’
Team Tiger will ‘make sure that he is loved, appreciated, catered to,’ Love told the outlet.
‘He’s made it very clear, he wants to make sure his hair is done before he sees Dillon, and that’s important,’ he said.
‘You always want to be the best for your spouse and we can certainly agree and embrace that and we will facilitate that.’
Sentence: Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, has served roughly two years of a 22-year sentence after he was convicted on 17 federal charges in 2019 for animal abuse and an attempted murder-for-hire plot on Carole Baskin (pictured in show still)
Reunited: Passage, Joe’s husband, was expected to be driven to the ranch two days later
Love added that Exotic ‘is a very flamboyant person’ and will receive the full ‘platinum’ service.
Exotic will be treated by a wardrobe and makeup team to make him ‘showtime ready’ – though Team Tiger will not have cameras with them, The Sun reported.
While Love added that a chef will be there, saying: ‘If you can imagine what a utopia would be, anything you need, we’re going to have.’
Love had previously said that Exotic would also quickly ‘get some pizzas, steak, maybe a McRib.’
‘We have folks from all walks of the medical field that get him ready and what I mean by that is make sure that all medical issues are ready: platelets are infused.’
Love also said that psychologists will be available to help Exotic and Team Tiger ‘with anything that he needs.’
‘He will get to pick from any 10 outfits because we want to make sure that we have the right attire, because he wants the world to see him not as the dishevelled person that prison has made him to a degree,’ he said.
Passage, Joe’s husband, would then be driven to the ranch two days later, according to the outlet.
Exotic was sentenced in January 2020 in his native Oklahoma after attempting to pay a hitman $3,000 to kill his nemesis Baskin – who sought to shut down his breeding of big cats.
Last May, it was revealed that Exotic’s legal team was seeking a pardon from Trump claiming that he was wrongfully convicted after Trump said last April he was looking to pardon the former zookeeper.
In September, Exotic wrote Trump a letter pleading for an early release from prison while his representatives spent around $10,000 at Trump’s DC hotel in a bid to help his cause.
Fame: Joe Exotic shot to fame after Netlfix released its hit Tiger King series at the start of the coronavirus pandemic