POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was resentenced to 21 years in federal prison Friday morning for his conviction on 19 counts, including murder for hire, in early 2020.
The attorneys for the man who once ran for governor and became a household name after Netflix’s documentary ‘Tiger King’ say they were hoping for a drastic reduction in his sentence. He was originally sentenced to 22 years in early 2020, but now it’s one year less after Friday’s hearing.
“Certainly, we’re disappointed with today,” said John Phillips, Joe Exotic’s attorney. “Look, it is not over.”
Joe has about 18 or so years left for time already served, but the ‘Tiger King’ star’s attorneys emphasized they are not giving up.
“We will be filing a motion for new trial and proceeding with the appeal at the same time and going forward with what has always been the heart of this case,” Phillips said. “Which is the collusion by the government in these witnesses to get Joe locked up.”
The resentencing comes after an appeals court found a sentencing error in his original sentencing. The defense was seeking seven and a half years in the resentencing.
“There’s so many questions that still remain unanswered,” Phillips said.
Both Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic spoke in court Friday morning. Joe maintains his innocence and says he’s dealt with prostate cancer in prison. He told the judge that “whatever I get sentenced to is a death sentence for me.”
“He’s been put in solitary confinement over and over again,” Phillips said.
At the same time, he alleged perjury from government witnesses throughout the situation.
“We allege that the government’s involvement rose to a level that reached outrageous government misconduct, sentencing entrapment, sentencing manipulation,” said Molly Parmer. Another one of Joe Exotic’s attorneys.
Baskin said she fears for she and her family’s lives if Joe ever gets out due to “his intense feelings of ill will” toward her.
She pointed to continued threats made on social media and said she is afraid he may inspire others to go after her.
Meanwhile, Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys said they have presented new evidence to the feds in the form of phone calls, affidavits, and other things.
“There’s a lot more that’s going to come out about how all of this went down,” Phillips said. “There’s so much more to this story than anybody has ever seen.”
Until then, however, it appears the Tiger King will remain locked away.
“He’s disappointed, but he sees the plan right,” Phillips said. “He sees what’s coming.”
The judge did not rule on the defense’s allegations against the federal government and witnesses. Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys said they plan to file for a new trial next week or the week after.