Joseph Maldonado-Passage, federal inmate No. 26154-017 and better known as Joe Exotic, is seeking a pardon—and has written to both Donald Trumps. The former zoo owner, who is serving a 22-year murder-for-hire sentence, has sent President Trump a 257-page letter outlining his case for a pardon, TMZ reports. Exotic has also written to a letter Donald Trump Jr., in which he said he was "sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms." "Please be my hero," he wrote, adding: "#TrumpJr.2024." TMZ cites prison sources who say "no such assault" occurred. Exotic, who was also convicted of illegally killing tigers, is incarcerated at FMC Fort Worth.
According to documents seen by TMZ, Exotic, 57, told President Trump that he fears dying in prison before his 2037 release date. He said he never tried to kill Carole Baskin and that threats he made were just "hyperbole." He also blamed his conviction on anti-gay attitudes and said he had been "railroaded and betrayed, repeatedly" by former business partner Jeff Lowe and others. Vanity Fair notes that after the Netflix Tiger King documentary brought the case to nationwide attention earlier this year, Trump told reporters he didn't know anything about it but promised to "take a look." (Read more Joe Exotic stories.)