'Tiger King' star Joe Exotic has been asking for a new trial. Prosecutors say no


Prosecutors have told a federal judge that Joe Exotic is not entitled to a new murder-for-hire trial because ultimately it was his "own words that convicted him."

The former Oklahoma zookeeper was convicted at trial in 2019 of hiring two men to kill his chief critic, Carole Baskin, and of crimes involving his animals.

He was ordered in January to serve 21 years in federal prison after an appeals court threw out his original sentence.


He now is seeking a new trial in Oklahoma City federal court, primarily on newly discovered evidence and government misconduct grounds. He told the judge the key witnesses against him have recanted their testimony.


"Only in America can the government kidnap you, lie under oath, and put you in prison when they know better. But I have faith that I will go home," he said in a news release in April after his attorneys filed the new trial motion.

Prosecutors reject Joe Exotic's claims

In a 65-page response Thursday, prosecutors argued his claims are so weak he likely shouldn't even get an evidentiary hearing.


They told U.S. District Judge Scott Palk that "impeaching the testimony of any or all of those witnesses" does not call his recorded statements into question.

Simply put, they argued, even if jurors had been aware of all the information Joe Exotic presented in his motion they still would have convicted him. Prosecutors called his own statements "the strongest evidence against him."

"In the end, a 'defendant is entitled to a fair trial but not a perfect one, for there are no perfect trials,'" prosecutors wrote in their response, quoting from a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion.

Joe Exotic "received just that — a fair trial."


Joe Exotic's 'Tiger King' fame from Netflix series has waned

Joe Exotic became famous early in the pandemic after Netflix released "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness."

The documentary series was a somewhat sympathetic look at his life, his case and his now closed zoo in Wynnewood. Millions watched while in lockdowns at home, making it a breakout hit.

Public interest in the self-described "gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet" has waned in the last year. A Netflix sequel released in November was widely panned.


He has always contended he was set up by a former business partner, Jeff Lowe. He claims in his new trial motion that he now has the proof.

In testimony about the first plot, jurors were told Joe Exotic hired an ex-convict working at the zoo to kill his critic.


Baskin is a Florida animal rights activist who had successfully sued him for more than $1 million. She had been outspoken against a major zoo attraction, so-called play times with tiger cubs.

The zoo worker, Allen Glover, testified Joe Exotic paid him $3,000 in 2017 to kill Baskin. "I said I'd cut her head off," Glover told jurors. "He was fine with it."


He also testified he never intended to go through with the plot and used the money to party on a Florida beach instead.

In an affidavit in September, Glover said he committed perjury during his trial testimony "regarding my involvement as the hitman."

"Jeff Lowe created the entire murder-for-hire plot from start to finish," he also said in the affidavit. He said Lowe later repeatedly rehearsed with him what to say to federal agents to get Joe Exotic indicted.

He said in the affidavit that Joe Exotic "always joked about wishing Carole Baskin was gone because of the financial stress she caused him."

"No one ever took him seriously."

Prosecutors tell judge Joe Exotic was convicted by his own words

In their response, prosecutors told the judge that Joe Exotic was secretly recorded laying out his plan to hire the zoo worker.

In one recorded conversation quoted by prosecutors, he told a government informant that "Jeff has 100% confidence in him because he’s done it before."

"And we are going to overnight his phone to Vegas, and Jeff is gonna text pictures every once in a while back to the staff. So that way, his phone registers in Vegas," he said. "As long as he don’t get caught red-handed, I think, I think we got this.


"But if they bust him red-handed, me and Jeff are just, we got our story down to where we fired the mother----- and he just went off the deep end."

Joe Exotic was recorded another time saying he was going to send Glover with $4,00

0 and pay $6,000 more "when it was done," prosecutors wrote. He lamented months later to the informant that "the last guy went … and drank it all."

Prosecutors pointed out that after his arrest he got upset with another zoo worker, Jo