The development comes as President Trump is allegedly preparing a string of pardons for administration officials, his children, as well as himself, in time for when he probably leaves office in January 2021.
President Donald Trump may soon issue a pardon for star of the hit Netflix documentary, Tiger King, ABC News reported.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, known popularly as Joe Exotic, is serving a 22-year sentence over his plot to hire a hitman to kill a rival tiger park owner, a bizarre drama that was chronicled in the widely popular Netflix series about his life.
Trump’s legal team have said that they are vetting a number of pardon requests made by the outgoing administration.
Eric Love, an attorney for Mr Maldonado-Passage, was quoted as telling ABC of his high hopes that a presidential pardon is forthcoming, saying that, “we are waiting on the pen to hit the paper, we think we are very, very close.”
Exotic himself tweeted this week calling upon President Trump to “sign my pardon.”
After his rise to fame thanks to the release of the Netflix series, simply titled Tiger King, Exotic’s legal team pushed for a pardon from President Trump, claiming that he was wrongly convicted for murder-for-hire. Exotic’s fans have also been calling for President Trump to issue a pardon, with some decorating a bus emblazoned with the message, “President Trump, please pardon Joe Exotic.”
Those efforts appeared to have paid off when, back in April, Trump said at a press conference that he would “take a look” at Mr Maldonado-Passage’s case, although adding that he knew “nothing about it”.
The former owner of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, was sentenced to prison in January 2019 on two counts of hiring someone to murder his nemesis, Carole Baskin, chief executive of Big Cat Rescue in Florida, who had accused Maldonado-Passage of mistreating the tigers at his park. Maldonado-Passage was also charged with nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act by killing five tigers and for selling tigers across state lines.
Apparently rather bemused social media users let their thoughts be known on the possibility of a presidential pardon.