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Donald Trump considering pardon for Joe Exotic

Donald Trump and Joe Exotic. Picture: Bang Showbiz/Netflix

Donald Trump and Joe Exotic. Picture: Bang Showbiz/Netflix

Published Apr 9, 2020


US President Donald Trump is considering a pardon for Tiger King star Joe Exotic, with the former zookeeper serving a 22-year sentence for trying to orchestrate the murder of Carole Baskin.

Trump responded after his son, Donald Trump Jr., joked about lobbying for an early release for the former zookeeper, who is currently serving a 22-year sentence for trying to hire a hitman to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin, as well as other crimes.

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Asked about the case and his son's support for the 57-year-old inmate - whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage - Trump told the New York Post: "I'll take a look.

"Which son? Must be Don - what did [Joe] do? I know nothing about it ... He has 22 for what? What did he do?"

Trump Sr. then polled journalists at a White House press briefing, asking if they would "recommend a pardon".

Exotic, who is the subject of Netflix documentary series Tiger King, has maintained his innocence, and Trump Jr. has described his sentence as "sort of aggressive".

During an appearance on SiriusXM's Jim Norton and Sam Roberts earlier this week, host Roberts told him: "I feel like you, Don Jr., can go in, make a meeting with your dad and go, 'Look, I know we're all dealing with [coronavirus pandemic] and there's a lot going on right now, but at the same time maybe a presidential pardon for poor Joe Exotic who's in there.' "

He recently seemed to get through to the president's son, who insisted while Exotic doesn't appear to be "totally innocent", he still finds the prison time excessive.

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He said: "I don't even know exactly what he was charged with. I watched the show but I don't know exactly what he was guilty of or wasn't.

"It doesn't seem like he was totally innocent of anything. But when they're saying, 'We're putting this guy away for 30 years,' I'm saying, 'That seems ... sort of aggressive.' "

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Donald Trump