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Tiger King’s Joe Exotic writes to Donald Trump and asks him to ‘be my hero’ and pardon him


Reality TV star Joe Exotic has written to Donald Trump to ask him to ‘grant me a miracle – a pardon’ for his ‘unjust and mishandled conviction’, claiming that he was sexually assaulted in prison and insisting that the Netflix series that brought him fame is not an accurate representation of his character.

The 57-year-old zoo owner, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January over a plot to kill his rival, Carol Baskin, and for killing five tigers in his zoo.

In his handwritten letter to the president, obtained by, Maldonado-Passage begs for his freedom so he can ‘return to helping sick children and the homeless’.

He begs Trump: ‘Be my hero, please.’ 

Joe Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, has asked Donald Trump for a pardon

Maldonado-Passage’s legal team intend to submit their case in Washington DC on Wednesday

Joe Exotic wrote a two-page handwritten letter to Donald Trump

In the letter, the reality TV star spoke of his admiration for the president 

He insists that he was wrongly convicted on the testimony of people who the government knew were lying.

‘I grew up having faith in our system until I became trapped in it,’ he writes.

Maldonado-Passage tells the president that he voted for him, and that he looks up to him. 

‘If I have ever looked up to anyone it would be you,’ he writes.

‘Not because I need you to save my life but because you stand for what YOU believe no matter what anyone thinks.’

He writes that everything he works for was ‘stolen by criminals’, and says he is ‘begging you to listen to the millions who see the truth’.

Maldonado-Passage was convicted of murder-for-hire for his rivalry with Carol Baskin 

The threats against Baskin, who runs a big cat sanctuary, were a joke, the defense claims

Maldonado-Passage wrote a separate letter to the president’s son, who in April said he felt the 22-year-sentence was ‘aggressive’.

‘I watched the show but I don’t know exactly what he was guilty of or wasn’t,’ Trump Jr said. 

‘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.”‘

Maldonado-Passage wrote a letter to Trump Jr on Facebook in June, and in his new letter writes: ‘Hey, it’s me again, Joe Exotic, I hate to bother you again but I truly have faith in you.’

The zoo owner claims that he is the victim of ‘fake news’, writing that he has been subjected to the whims of ‘bad agents, bad cops and bad prosecutors’.

He tells Trump Jr, a passionate hunter and outdoorsman, that he has been wrongly judged by over-zealous animal welfare authorities.  

And he tells him he has been sexually assaulted inside the Grady County jail in Oklahoma. He has since been transferred to a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

‘I have been sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms,’ he wrote.

‘Please be my hero … my hands are damaged from the abuse in jail so I’m sorry for the soppy (sic) writing and spelling.’

The jail has denied that Maldonado-Passage was harmed. 

Maldonado-Passage wrote a four-page handwritten letter to Donald Trump Jr

Trump Jr said in April that he felt Maldonado-Passage’s sentence was ‘aggressive’

Maldonado-Passage told Trump Jr that he had been sexually assaulted in prison

He ended his letter to the president’s son: ‘#TrumpJr2024’

Maldonado-Passage previously told OK! magazine about his alleged assault, earlier this month. 

He ended his letter with the phrase: ‘#TrumpJr.2024.’

In his 257-page file, Maldonado-Passage says he fears he may die before his scheduled 2037 release owing to anemia and other immune deficiencies. 

He insists that he never intended to kill his rival, Carol Baskin, and described his comments about plotting to murder her – as captured in the Netflix documentary – as ‘hyperbole’.

His lawyers claim the ‘threats’ were ‘simply another aspect of his showmanship … Joe’s jokes, at most, in bad taste, were merely jokes.’  

He admitted killing the tigers, but said it was because they needed to be euthanized. 

Maldonado-Passage also submitted character references including one from his husband Dillon Passage, and one from Kerri Walker, whose cousin worked at the zoo. 

Walker makes an appeal to Trump, saying Maldonado-Passage was wrongly judged, in the way that Trump was with the ‘grab-’em-by-the-p***y’ tape.

His husband 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.’

Dillon Passage wrote: ‘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’

The dossier will be presented to the White House on Wednesday by Eric Love, a former law enforcement officer who now works as a private investigator. #

Earlier this year, Trump said he would consider issuing a pardon for Maldonado-Passage, after his son brought the case to him.

‘I’ll take a look,’ he told reporters in April. 

In June, when Trump Jr interviewed his father for a campaign video, the president said he had seen ‘a couple of episodes’ of the true crime miniseries.

‘He’s quite a character,’ Trump said of Maldonado-Passage. ‘That’s a strange guy and a lot of strange people around him.’

Maldonado-Passage’s supporters also have posted a series of letters online that he’s written to the White House seeking a pardon.

In August, when Trump promised a ‘surprise’ pardon, many of the reality TV star’s supporters hoped it would be him.

Instead, on August 18 Trump posthumously pardoned the woman’s suffragist Susan B. Anthony.  

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