'We're Disappointed': Joe Exotic's Attorney Reacts To Resentencing

Saturday, January 29th 2022, 7:43 am
By: News 9, Jennifer Pierce

The man known around the world as "Joe Exotic" had a year taken off his prison sentence. The Tiger King star was convicted in 2020 for his role in a murder-for-hire scheme and crimes against animals. A judge on Friday re-sentenced Joseph Maldonado-Passage at the federal courthouse in downtown Oklahoma City.  

Maldonado-Passage was originally sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. The judge resentenced him to 21 years. His attorney held a press conference following the hearing. 

“Certainly, we’re disappointed,” said John Philips, Joe Exotic’s attorney. “We recommended 90 months.” 

Joe Exotic and his team of attorneys waited seven months for Friday's hearing. His attorney's appealed the sentencing of the two murder-for-hire charges he was found guilty of two years ago. 

While in federal prison the former zoo owner was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He told News 9 the day before the hearing he had lost hope. 

"The only hope I have is if my heart stop beating in the middle of the night,” said Joseph Maldonado-Passage. 

Maldonado-Passage made it to the hearing, so did his nemesis Carol Baskin. She told the judge Maldonado-Passage is a greater threat to her now than before his first sentencing. She believes the Tiger King's large fan base could carry out violent acts against her. 

Defense attorneys had this to say in response to Baskin’s statement. 

“The inconsistency in her statement that she felt in danger and wanted a longer sentence for Joe versus her statement to the media April 14 of 2021,” said Molly Palmer, Joe Exotic’s attorney. “Where she would happily agree to a reduction or pardon if only, he supported the Big Cat Safety Act,”  

Maldonado-Passage also addressed the judge and said many of the government's witnesses have admitted to fabricating evidence and perjury since the trial. 

His attorneys said their next steps were to appeal the sentence and ask for a new trial.   

“I picked up some of Joe’s belongings this week,” said John Philips, Joe Exotic’s attorney. “I brought his pocket watch, you know, it’s time for justice.”  

Maldonado-Passage will return to the federal prison in Fort Worth. He told News 9 he will start radiation treatment for the cancer soon.