FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The White House released a list of 73 pardons and 70 commutations shortly before 1:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and “Tiger King Joe Exotic” was not on the list.
Friends and supporters gathered much of the day Tuesday, Jan. 19, hoping “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage would be pardoned and freed from the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth prison by President Trump during the final hours of his term.
Private investigator Eric Love spearheaded the campaign to free Joe Exotic.
He, and the stretch Dodge limo ready to drive him away from prison, were standing by all day Tuesday.
“I know that as soon as Joe gets out, he wants to get his hair done. That’s the number one thing that he wants to get done,” said Love, who was confident Joe Exotic would receive a pardon. “He (President Trump) sees that Joe has been targeted. We were able to prove that in the documents we provided to the White House. So I think he can identify with Team Tiger and the Tiger King and I think we’re going to get the pardon. I’m 100% sure.”
Maldonado-Passage, better known as the Tiger King in the Netflix documentary by that title, has served two-and-a-half years of a 22-year federal sentence after being found guilty in a murder-for-hire plot to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin and and violating federal wildlife laws.
Supporters of Joe Exotic lined up outside the Federal Medical Facility, hoping to see him released.
I’m out here, I’m excited,” said Beatrice Salazar. “My daughter wants to get his autograph. I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’re just out here watching and waiting.”
The true crime documentary, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” was released in March of 2020, at the height of national stay-at-home orders and catapulted the former Arlington pet store owner into the spotlight.
The series followed Maldonado-Passage’s life of as he operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma that at the time had nearly 200 big cats.
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