L.A, 2022-01-28 01:55:22. ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic prepares for resentment in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal judge is set to decide on a new verdict Friday on “Tiger King” Joe Exotic after an appeals court ruled last year that his prison term for a pay-murder conviction should be shortened.
Although supporters of Joe Exotic — whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage — are seeking his release from prison, federal guidelines are unlikely to suggest a prison sentence of 17 to 22 years.
Maldonado Passage was expected to attend Friday’s sentencing in Oklahoma City after a judge approved his transfer from a federal medical center in Patner, North Carolina. Last month, attorneys for the former Oklahoma park ranger said he is delaying prostate cancer treatment until beyond his dismay.
The former zookeeper was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal welfare activist Carol Baskin. A panel of three judges from the Tenth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with Maldonado Passage that the court should have treated them as one conviction in the ruling because both had the same goal of killing Baskin, who runs a big cat rescue sanctuary in Florida and has criticized Maldonado Passage’s treatment of animals .
Both appeared in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”. The show was such a hit that people were forced to stay home in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prosecutors said Maldonado Passage offered US$10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin during a taped meeting in December 2017. On the recording, he told the agent, “Just like following her into the parking lot at the mall and driving over her.” Maldonado Passage’s lawyers said their client – who once ran a zoo in Wynwood, Oklahoma, about 105 kilometers south of Oklahoma City – wasn’t serious.
Maldonado Passage, who maintains his innocence, was also convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records. His lawyers are demanding a lighter sentence than the guidelines call for, alleging “incomplete entrapment, tampering with judgments, and disgraceful government behaviour.”
“From the decisions made in the early stages of the investigation to the indictments to the overzealous sentencing recommendations, one thing remains clear: this case was about doing whatever it took to put Mr. Maldonado Passage behind bars for as long as possible,” he said. His lawyers wrote in the sentencing note.
Federal prosecutors said in court records that they would refuse to recommend a new sentence for Maldonado Passage because of the allegations he made.
“In the event that any such allegations are likely to withstand scrutiny and eventually be determined to be credible,” US Attorney Robert Troster wrote, “these developments could affect the final sentencing recommendation of the United States” because prosecutors are obligated to investigate them.
Bleed newspaper reported from Little Rock, Arkansas.
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