In a video released on Thursday, Eric Love — the eccentric lawyer leading Tiger King star Joe Exotic’s legal team — announced that the team is leaving first thing on Monday morning to head to Washington, D.C., so they can get Exotic pardoned by President Donald Trump, TMZ reported.
The video featured a coach bus with the words “President Trump please free Joe Exotic” on the side with an image of Exotic and a tiger. Love said that he and the team would be driving the bus all the way from Fort Worth, Texas, to the White House.
Last week, Exotic’s legal team released a video asking the president to pardon Exotic. In the video, Exotic’s legal team claimed that Exotic was not guilty of plotting to kill Carole Baskin, the crime for which he’s serving a 22-year sentence. They went on to say that Exotic was, in fact, framed for the attempted murder.
They pleaded with President Trump to grant Exotic a pardon so he could be released from the Fort Worth prison where he’s serving his time; a prison where about one-third of the inmates have tested positive for coronavirus.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was featured in a Netflix series called Tiger King, which released earlier this year. The series tells the story of his life as a zookeeper and collector of big cats, as well as his relationships with big cat conservationists, like Baskin. The series also delves into the wild world Exotic inhabited, which was full of sex, complicated relationships, and alleged attempted murder.
A reporter just asked if Trump would pardon Joe Exotic from Tiger King and Trump said, "I will take a look." pic.twitter.com/f0c0R8QmDy
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 8, 2020
Back in April, Trump was asked by a reporter after a coronavirus daily press briefing if he would be willing to grant Exotic a pardon. Apparently, Donald Trump Jr. had joked about how his father should pardon Exotic. Trump bantered with the reporter about whether or not they thought Exotic should be pardoned and eventually said he would check into the case. Since then, the president hasn’t spoken about any potential pardon.
Exotic’s legal team has been employing several different tactics to secure Exotic’s release from prison, according to TMZ. In addition to requesting a pardon from the president, they’re appealing Exotic’s conviction and bringing a malicious prosecution lawsuit against several of the people involved in the criminal trial. In the Tiger King series, the alleged hitman that Exotic supposedly hired to kill Baskin said that his testimony was retaliation against Exotic, which brings the case into question.
Love said the legal team is planning to enjoy their weekend before hitting the road on Monday morning to fight for their client.