‘Joe Exotic’s’ murder-for-hire trial delayed

OKLAHOMA CITY – The attempted murder-for-hire trial of an ex-Oklahoma zookeeper and one-time Libertarian candidate for governor has been postponed.

Court documents filed Dec. 21 show a federal judge agreed to a defense request for more time to prepare and rescheduled the trial of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who goes by “Joe Exotic,” until March 12. Maldonado-Passage is charged with trying to hire someone to kill the operator of a Florida-based animal sanctuary.

He pleaded not guilty and has a pending motion to dismiss the charge.

Maldonado-Passage also faces charges of killing tigers and selling cubs in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Maldonado-Passage once operated a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, and ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian nomination for Oklahoma governor last year.