Saturday, April 1, 2023

‘Tiger King’ star Joe Exotic to hear his fate on reduced sentence

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge is set to hand down a new sentence for “Tiger King” Joe Exotic on Friday after an appeals court ruled last year that the prison sentence he is serving on a murder-for-hire charge should be reduced.

Although supporters of Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, are seeking his release from prison, this is unlikely, as federal regulations suggest a sentence of 17.5 to 22 years in prison.

Maldonado-Passage was expected to take part in Friday’s sentencing in Oklahoma City after a judge approved his transfer from the federal medical center in Butner, North Carolina. Last month, lawyers for the former Oklahoma zoo owner said he was delaying treatment for prostate cancer until he was sentenced.

In January 2020, a former zookeeper was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of trying to hire two different men to kill animal rights activist Carol Baskin. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Maldonado-Passage that the court should have treated them as one conviction at sentencing because they both had the same goal of killing Baskin, who runs the orphanage for big cats in New York. Florida and criticized Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of animals.

Both were featured in the Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. The show was a breakthrough as people were forced to stay at home during the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prosecutors said Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent for Baskin’s murder during a taped meeting in December 2017. In the recording, he told the agent, “Just like following her to the mall parking lot, just close it and drive away.” Lawyers for Maldonado-Passage said their client, who once ran a zoo in Wynnwood, Oklahoma, about 65 miles (105 km) south of Oklahoma City, did not speak seriously.

Maldonado-Passage, who maintains his innocence, was also found guilty of killing five tigers, selling cubs and falsifying wildlife records. His lawyers are asking for a lighter sentence than the one called for by the guidelines, arguing “an imperfect provocation, a manipulation of the verdict and an outrageous behavior by the government.”

“From the decisions made in the early stages of the investigation, to the indictment decisions and overzealous sentencing recommendations, one thing remains clear: this case was about doing everything possible to get Mr. Maldonado-Passage behind bars as much as possible. longer,” his lawyers. wrote in the memorandum of judgment.

Federal prosecutors have said in court records that they will delay a new sentencing of Maldonado-Passage because of the charges he has filed.

“In the unlikely event that any of these allegations stand up to scrutiny and are ultimately determined to be credible, these events could influence the United States’ final sentencing recommendations,” as prosecutors have an obligation to investigate them, U.S. Attorney Robert Troester wrote. .

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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