A former employee for G. W. Animal Park told jurors he transported around 100 animals illegally across state lines. During testimony the government's witness became emotional.
The witness told jurors he was more than just an employee. He said for 11 years he was Joe Maldonado-Passage's lover.
The government's witness told jurors he started working for Joe after graduating high school in 2003. He said in the beginning it was fun, and that he and about a dozen other employees did various jobs around the park. He said he helped feed and care for Joe’s tigers.
The witness said eventually, he and Joe begin a romantic relationship.
He said during his time at the zoo, under Joe’s direction, he transported tigers and other exotic animals he illegally across state lines. He said the animals were sold to other zoos, and that he was responsible for collecting payment for the animals. Money he later handed over to Joe.
In 2017, he said Joe asked him to drive a man to Dallas to purchase a fake ID. Joe told him the man needed the ID so he could drive to Florida to kill Carole Baskin.
Then in September, the witness said law-enforcement confronted him and he told them about Joe’s plan.
In September, he said Joe called him from jail. In that call, jurors listened as the defendant alluded to killing himself if he could only make bond.
Under cross-examination, defense asked the witness if he was currently being paid to tell a story. He said he did agree to take part in a documentary centering around Joe Exotic, and that he was paid for pictures and video of Maldonado-Passage. However, he said he was approached about the documentary after Maldonado-Passage's arrest.