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‘I’m a fighter;’ Joe Exotic speaks on appeal, cancer treatment

By Janna Clark, FOX23 News October 06, 2022 at 3:20 pm CDT

Joe Exotic is still fighting for freedom.

His attorneys are arguing that the Tiger King’s sentence should be drastically cut. They filed an appeal in April with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but Exotic’s attorneys had a change to argue in court last week.

Now, they are awaiting the judge’s decision.

Exotic, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado Passage, was convicted of animal-related charges and hiring someone to kill Carole Baskin in 2019. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Joe’s attorneys argue that he’s being punished twice.

“There were two murder for hire convictions, one related to Allen Glover, the teardrop Tattoo Guy, and one related to an FBI informant,” said attorney John Phillips. “It’s our position that neither one of them were valid, but he was convicted of both of them. And so there’s an issue because they were all one plot to kill Carole Baskin, whether that should have a double sentence, whether they should be sentenced separately.”

Phillips says the court should unbundle the charges and treat them as two separate incidents. He says doing this could shave 10 years off of Joe’s sentence.

Molly Parmer is another attorney on Joe’s legal team. She spoke during last week’s hearing, saying that because of how the charges were filed, Joe’s sentence violates the double jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Joe has had continued contact with FOX23 Investigative Reporter Janna Clark while in prison. He has recently discussed his case, saying his attorneys have evidence that federal agents and the Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Oklahoma City knew that their witnesses lied under oath.

In phone calls, Joe told Clark multiple times that he has never hired anyone to kill Carole. “I just want people to know I’m innocent. And God knows how many other innocent people are in this system because the government is more concerned about a percentage of conviction rate than justice. And at the end of all this, I want the world to know that I’m innocent.”

Phillips says it could be months before the judges make a decision. Whether Joe and his team of attorneys get the decision they want or not, Phillips is ready to fight for a new trial. His attorneys already filed the motion for it.

“I want to get to the meat of the coconut as they say, I want to get to the motion for new trial that was filed with its hundreds of exhibits, the affidavits discussing perjury, witness collusion, you know, the fact that two of the Tigers that Joe allegedly shot were alive after he was convicted. They were found in Tennessee.” (I cut the rest)

Joe was diagnosed with cancer last year. He continued his legal battles while fighting the disease.

After completing radiation treatments, Joe says he is now cancer-free.

“I’m holding on. I’m a fighter. I want to be proved innocent. I want to go start a new life and move past this. I’ve been through hell.”

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