March 26, 2020 | 4:27pm | Updated March 26, 2020 | 5:04pm Enlarge Image Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, in his 2018 mugshot after his arrest on murder-for-hire charges. Santa Rosa County Jail/ MEGA The “Tiger King” wants to be freed from his cage. Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage — the star of a hit new Netflix…
March 26, 2020 | 4:27pm | Updated March 26, 2020 | 5:04pm
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, in his 2018 mugshot after his arrest on murder-for-hire charges.
Santa Rosa County Jail/ MEGA
The “Tiger King” wants to be freed from his cage.
Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage — the star of a hit new Netflix series — has filed a jailhouse lawsuit against the feds and is asking President Trump to pardon his conviction for orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot on a rival and violating the Endangered Species Act.
The former roadside zookeeper and “big cat” enthusiast — who is serving a 22-year prison sentence — is demanding a combined $94 million from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, his former business partner Jeff Lowe and several former colleagues said.
The polygamist issued a call for a pardon from Trump and announced his lawsuit in March 19 on his Facebook page.
“This lawsuit has been filed in the name of Justice, The Trump Administration must be made aware of the Overreach, perjury, abuse of power and the failure to uphold the Oath of their position which is truth and Justice for all,” the gun-toting Oklahoma native wrote in the post.
A jury convicted Maldonado-Passage last year on 21 counts, which included euthanizing five tigers and hiring someone to kill his arch nemesis — Big Cat Rescue founder and CEO Carole Baskin.
Maldonado-Passage is representing himself in his lawsuit — in which he refers himself in the third person — and filed it in a federal court in Oklahoma.
He alleges that the Fish and Wildlife Service put tigers on the endangered species list “for the sole purpose of allowing animal rights groups to sue small zoos and circuses” and to make ”privately-owned tigers extinct.”
The seven-part docu-series on Maldonado-Passage, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” has been a hit with Netflix viewers since its March 20 release — on Thursday, it was still sitting at No. 1 on the streaming service’s Top 10 list.
But the show has not found a fan in Baskin, who is prominently featured in the series.
In a recent blog post, she said the series is full of “lies and innuendo” and that the directing team behind it set out to make it as “salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers.”