U.S. District Court of Appeals vacates sentence for ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic, orders resentencing


KFOR Oklahoma City 14 July, 2021 - 03:58pm 22 views

Is Joe exotic in prison?

Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, and was the star of a docuseries that became a big hit during the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal sanctuary owner ... The GuardianJoe Exotic should receive shorter prison sentence, federal appeals court rules

FILE – In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, is seen at the zoo he used to run in Wynnewood, Okla. A federal judge in Oklahoma has ordered the new owners of the Oklahoma zoo featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary to turn over all the lion and tiger cubs in their possession, along with the animals’ mothers, to the federal government. U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III issued the order last week in the case against Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe and the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park based on claimed violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The U.S. 10th District Court of Appeals has ordered Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, be resentenced following his conviction in the murder-for-hire plot of Big Cat Rescue’s Carole Baskin.

According to court documents, the judge affirmed Maldonado-Passage’s conviction but has decided to vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.

In 2018, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic” and former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Animal Park, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of murder-for-hire.

Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage gave a person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to Florida to carry out the murder of big cat activist Carole Baskin and “allegedly agreed to pay thousands more after the deed,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Officials offered evidence in the form of recordings of Maldonado-Passage negotiating the hiring of an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a hitman. When talking about payment, Maldonado-Passage reportedly said, “I’ll just sell a bunch of tigers.”

The intended target of the hit was Carole Baskin, a chief critic of Maldonado-Passage. Baskin successfully sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark infringement in 2011, and was outspoken about the treatment of animals at the park.

The defense claimed their client was framed. They say he was all talk and had no intention of wanting Baskin dead.

The former Greater Wynnewood Animal Park owner was found guilty on all counts in 2019.

He was ultimately sentenced to a total of 22 years in prison for both the murder-for-hire plot and several wildlife charges. Officials say he was sentenced to nine years in prison for each of the murder-for-hire convictions, and four years for the wildlife violations.

Now, a judge for the U.S. 10th District Court says although the conviction remains, the sentencing must be reconsidered.

“We hold that the district court acted within its discretion by allowing Baskin to attend the full trial proceedings despite her being listed as a government witness, but that it erred by not grouping the two murder-for-hire convictions at sentencing,” said the appeal.

Joe Exotic Appeal by KayleeDD on Scribd

Brandon Sample, appellate counsel for Joe Exotic said, “I am pleased with the appellate court’s decision in Joe’s case. I knew when I agreed to represent Joe that an appeal would be difficult, but I also knew that the law was on Joe’s side. I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe—and his eventual freedom.”

Maldonado-Passage will remain in custody until resentencing can be determined.

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The Muscogee Nation hosted the meeting at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa on July 9, the one-year anniversary of the McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling.

The long-awaited watchdog report raises serious questions about how the department and the FBI handled the case and it highlights serious missteps at the FBI between the time the allegations were first reported and Nassar’s arrest.

The show was set to be based on the Texas Monthly article “Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild,” by Leif Reigstad.

Read full article at KFOR Oklahoma City

Joe Exotic Conviction Upheld, Reacts To Likely Receiving Shorter Sentence

TMZ 14 July, 2021 - 02:42pm

TMZ has obtained video of Joe calling his lawyer, John M. Phillips, and you can tell Joe is feeling good about his vacated 22-year sentence.

Joe says he's confident his lawyers will prove his innocence so he can finally go home ... and he's also got messages for President Biden and Carole Baskin.

Joe Exotic just caught a potential break, and while he's not walking out of prison today ... he might get out a little bit sooner.

The federal appeals court in the 'Tiger King' star's case just upheld his conviction for murder-for-hire, but there's a silver lining ... his 22-year sentence has been vacated, and he'll be resentenced.

According to legal docs obtained by TMZ ... the appeals court reviewed Joe's case and upheld the conviction, but determined the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Oklahoma City made a technical error by not grouping the 2 murder-for-hire convictions at his sentencing.

So, Exotic's original sentence will be tossed, and the case is getting sent back to the lower court ... where he'll likely receive a shorter sentence now.

Still, Joe's legal team is celebrating the W. His appellate lawyer, Brandon Sample, tells us he's pleased with the appellate court’s decision. He says, "I knew when I agreed to represent Joe that an appeal would be difficult, but I also knew that the law was on Joe's side."

Sample adds, "I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe—and his eventual freedom."

Joe Exotic

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