Joe Exotic may be a free man soon. President Donald Trump responded to Tiger King Joe Exotic’s pardon request after his alleged murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin. The POTUS was asked about Joe’s request to be pardoned for his 22 prison sentence after he was convicted for several counts of murder-for-hire and animal abuse in April 2019.
“I know nothing about it…he has 22 for what? What did he do?” Trump responded to a reporter who asked about Joe at a COVID-19 briefing on April 8. “You think he didn’t do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon? I will take a look.” The reporter also noted that the president’s son, Don Jr., has already joked that the presidential family will advocate for Joe’s release.
Trump’s response comes after Joe—the former owner of Oklahoma’s The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park—asked the POTUS for a presidential pardon for his crimes. According to People, Joe filed a $94 million federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and and the U.S. Department of Interior after the release of Netflix’s Tiger King. In the suit, he claimed that his alleged false imprisonment led to the loss of his personal property, 18 years of research and the care of more than 200 tigers. He also claimed that his false arrest, false imprisonment and selective enforcement led to the death of his mother, Shirley. Further, accused the government of violating civil rights by targeting him because “[he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds.”
Tiger King, which premiered in March, followed Joe’s drama with Carole, the owner of Florida’s Big Cat Rescue. Joe was sentenced to 22 years in jail in January after he was convicted for paying a hitman to murder Carole and the abuse of several of his zoo’s big cats. Among his crimes were the illegal sale of tiger and lion cubs, some as old as two weeks, and the murder of five of his tigers, which were buried at the back of his park.