At a press conference this week, a reporter asked United States President Donald Trump if he would consider pardoning Joe Exotic, the controversial star of the new Netflix docuseries “Tiger King.” Joe Exotic is currently in prison, serving a 22-year sentence for allegedly hiring an employee to kill his rival and CEO of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin.
The question came just days after the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. had called Exotic’s 22-year sentence ‘aggressive’ and joked that he would advocate for the former zoo owner’s release, while he was on a SiriusXM radio interview.
The president said that he had not yet seen the series and was not familiar with the case, but said that he would “take a look” at the case and see if Joe Exotic is worthy of a pardon.
New York Times reporter Steven Nelson popped the question to Trump during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Trump began asking the other reporters in the room if they would advocate or a pardon in the case of Joe Exotic, but all of them declined to answer. Trump then correctly guessed which one of his sons brought up the issue.
WILL JOE EXOTIC GET A PARDON? President Trump was asked today during the coronavirus briefing if he would consider a pardon for Joe Exotic, the centerpiece of the Netflix viral documentary Tiger King bit.ly/3dZP80e
Posted by KRON 4 News on Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The president’s son Donald Trump Jr, does not have the best relationship with animal rights activist, so in that sense, him and Joe Exotic have a bit in common. Earlier this year, Trump Jr. sparked outrage among animal rights activists after he was a part of an auction where the winning bidder would be able to take a week long trophy hunting trip with the president’s son. However, Trump Jr. considers himself to be “an accomplished conservationist,” and at the time he claimed that the money raised from the auction would go towards conservation efforts.
During his recent interview on SiriusXM radio, Trump Jr. called Joe Exotic’s sentence “aggressive.”
‘Now, I don’t even know exactly what he was charged with … I watched the show, but it was like, 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,’ he said.
Days before the recent release of the series, Joe Exotic filed a $94 million federal civil rights lawsuit against his former business partners and multiple government agencies for false imprisonment, loss of property, and payment for the years of work and research that went into creating the content that was used in the series. In the lawsuit, Joe claims he was set up by his former business partner Jeffery Lowe and other business rivals who worked with federal agents to entrap him in a murder for hire plot that he claims to have had no knowledge of.
The Tiger King docuseries details how Lowe was able to take ownership of Joe Exotic’s zoo in the midst of his legal battle with Carole Baskin through offering to help with finances and how the relationship turned sour shortly after. Lowe brought one of his close friends, Allen Glover, to work at the zoo, and it was Glover who ultimately testified that he was paid $3,000 to kill Baskin.
Joe claims that his former business partners colluded with federal agents to put him behind bars on trumped-up charges. And then, once Joe was behind bars, Lowe was able to take full ownership of the park and all of his assets.