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Carole Baskin Is Thrilled Joe Exotic Didn't Get A Trump Pardon

Joe Exotic's lawyers were so confident he would be on Trump's pardon list they even hired a limo to pick him up from prison in Texas.

Last updated on January 20, 2021, at 4:58 p.m. ET

Posted on January 20, 2021, at 2:46 p.m. ET

Netflix

Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin in Tiger King

Carole Baskin told BuzzFeed News she is breathing a sigh of relief that her rival Joe Exotic is remaining behind bars after he failed to win a pardon from outgoing president Donald Trump.

The mullet-wearing zookeeper and star of the Tiger King documentary series, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, had been hoping to be among those to whom Trump would grant clemency.

His lawyers were so confident he would be on the list they even hired a limo to pick him up from prison in Texas, as well as a hair and makeup team.

"We're waiting for the phone call from Washington, DC," said private investigator Eric Love, who is part of Exotic's defense team, in a Twitter video. "It's coming, y'all. Hold tight."

But while Trump issued dozens and dozens of pardons on the last night of his presidency, including for some celebrities, Exotic's never came — and Love soon deleted the video.

This is the stretch Limo standing by at #JoeExotic Fort Worth Lawyers office. I’m told they’re waiting on a call from the White House confirming the presidential pardon before heading to pick him up at the prison. @CBSDFW

Twitter: @cbs11ken

Love later retweeted a post purportedly written by Exotic himself.

I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump. I only mattered to Don Jr. when he needed to make a comment about me to boost his social media post. Boy were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for Equal Justice? His corrupt friends all come first.

Twitter: @joe_exotic

Exotic is serving a 22-year prison sentence for trying to pay an assassin $3,000 to kill Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue. He was also convicted in April 2019 of violating federal wildlife laws for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs, and falsifying records. He denied the charges.

Baskin told BuzzFeed News she was thankful that Trump decided against a pardon.

"I think only Joe's team and the media were ever even thinking about a pardon for Joe," she said.

"There is no benefit, other than a feeble attempt to deflect attention, for anyone to pardon someone who walked up to five tigers and shot them in the head in order to clear cage space for the circus, who was going to pay him to board their tigers during the offseason," she said. "Tigers are the world's favorite animal and Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage is right where he belongs: in a cage."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.