Skip to Content

You would have to be gullible, have no respect for right and wrong, and be a self-aggrandizing fool to want to see Joe Exotic go free.

That’s why Joe knows Donald Trump is his only chance at a pardon. And now he’s suing to try to force the Orange Tyrant’s hand.

Joe Exotic Mugshot

Joseph Maldonado-Passage is suing the United States Department of Justice.

The disgraced Tiger King star is attempting to obtain a pardon from outgoing White House occupant Donald Trump.

Through his attorney, Joe’s attorney filed a 6-page complaint just days ago.

In the complaint, he is demanding that the Department of Justice at least make a recommendation about his pardon request and issue that recommendation to Trump.

The court documents show Joe’s attorney arguing against the Office of the Pardon Attorney’s previous rejection, a decision made in September.

They are clearly hoping that this more aggressive, even hostile move, will gain the attention that Joe seeks … both because of his personality and because he wants Trump to take notice.

The Office of the Pardon Attorney generally receives requests and pleas and looks over the facts of a case before issuing recommendations to the President.

Usually, this is done for humanitarian reasons. In Trump’s case, obviously, that’s pretty moot, and pardons have been largely reserved for war criminals and co-conspirators.

The exceptions, it seems, came only at the behest of beautiful, busty reality stars willing to give Trump momentary attention to get the justice that they sought.

Joe Exotic and Friend

Though a President can in theory pardon whomever they like for any federal offenses (with the possible exception of themselves), the DOJ does have guidelines.

It is generally expected that a petitionary wait at least five years after their conviction or release from confinement before applying for a pardon.

Clearly, Joe Exotic and his legal team are both desperate and hopeful — hopeful that Trump’s gleeful destruction of political norms will extend to him, too.

Joe Exotic and Dillon Passage

Joe is currently in only his first year out of a 22-year prison sentence.

First of all, he’s under a boatload of animal abuse charges. Descriptions of his alleged behavior with his animals sound nothing short of monstrous.

But because our society inadequately punishes crimes against non-human animals, Joe’s conviction for his plot to murder animal rights activist Carole Baskin ensured that he got put away.

Meet Joe Exotic

As we mentioned, Joe’s bid to have the usual 5-year waiting period waived was denied by the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

Usually, that kind of hard "no" is the end of a person’s quest to benefit from the Presidential Pardon Power.

However, Joe seems desperate … and if he thinks that Trump’s capricious whims and inflated ego are his best bet of getting out of prison before 2040, he’s probably right.

Joe Exotic & Baby Cub

Pardon Attorneys are under no obligation to pass on any of the pleas that get thrown their way.

However, it does appear that Joe’s application is "pending" on the DOJ’s website, but that is not necessarily a win, as his claim is fairly moot because it is unclear on what grounds he seeks a Pardon.

Presidents can Pardon people based upon mood or impulse, but trying to force one through the court needs, among other things, some sort of actual argument or controversy. But if the appeal lands on Trump’s desk, all that it might take is a selfie with an eccentric famous person.