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In Latest Scheme to Get a Pardon, Joe Exotic Sues Department of Justice

KEENESBURG, CO - APRIL 05: Signage for the Wild Animal Sanctuary where 39 tigers rescued from Joe Exotic's G.W. Exotic Animal Park currently reside on April 5, 2020 in Keenesburg, Colorado. Exotic, star of the wildly successful Netflix docu-series Tiger King, is currently in prison for a murder-for-hire plot and surrendered some of his animals to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The Sanctuary cares for some 550 animals on two expansive reserves in Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
By Joseph Fawbush, Esq. on December 18, 2020 11:07 AM

It's been rumored that President Trump has been considering hundreds of requests for pardons during his last few weeks of office. So many, in fact, that President Trump's staff has had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of his options. Those options include the President and his family members, of course, as well as other prominent figures such as Edward Snowden and Rudy Giuliani.

Down the list a way, one presumes, is a request from Joe Exotic, of Tiger King fame, who petitioned the President this past September. On Wednesday, December 16, Joe Exotic sued the Department of Justice for failing to present his petition for a pardon directly to the President. According to the lawsuit, Acting Pardon Attorney Rosalind Sargent-Burns rejected Joseph Maldonado-Passage's request two days after it was filed without informing President Trump. According to the complaint, the rejection letter hinted (but did not outright state) that the office did not forward on the request to the President, despite being obligated to do so.

As Far-Fetched As It Seems?

While the chances of Joe Exotic getting a pardon remain slim, you can see how he would want to try. He was sentenced in 2019 to 22 years in federal prison for hiring a hitman to kill Carole Baskin, among other federal offenses. In April, President Trump joked during one of his then-daily coronavirus briefings that he would consider pardoning the unlikely Netflix star.

Despite the long odds, earlier this month Joe Exotic's lawyer said they were “very, very close" to getting a pardon. In an apparent attempt to sweeten the deal, for example, representatives of Joe Exotic spent $10,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit against the Department of Justice appears to be the latest ploy to get the attention of the President.

Not that the President is unaware. On November 25, President Trump retweeted a post from Rep. Matt Gaetz, which stated that "President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to."

Well, both Flynn and the turkeys have received pardons. Is Joe Exotic next on the list?

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