BUTNER, NC (AP) – Former Oklahoma zookeeper known as “Tiger King” Joe Exotic, a prominent figure in a Netflix documentary series, has been transferred to a medical facility in North Carolina for federal inmates following a cancer diagnosis, according to his attorney.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was flown by plane to be transferred from a federal medical center in Fort Worth, Texas, to a federal medical center in Butner, North Carolina, late Tuesday or early Wednesday, defense attorney John Phillips said in a statement. Phillips, who tweeted his statement Saturday, said the Maldonado Passage was originally scheduled to be transferred later this month.
Phillips said Maldonado-Passage told him he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was receiving medical treatment and tests “for a variety of problems.” Phillips said prison treatment “is not the best and justice is slow.”
“It’s a competition for life and freedom that no one wants to be a part of,” he added.
In July, a federal appeals court ruled that Maldonado-Passage should receive a shorter prison sentence for his role in a murder-for-rent conspiracy and violation of federal wildlife laws.
He was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill Florida animal rights activist Carole Baskin. A panel of three judges from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found that the trial court erred in treating those two sentences separately in calculating his prison sentence under the sentencing guidelines.
The Court of Appeal’s panel said that his advisory sentence should be between 17 1/2 years and just under 22 years, instead of between almost 22 years and 27 years in prison, as calculated by the High Court.
Maldonado-Passage and his blonde mullet starred in the Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.
Meanwhile, Baskin, from Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue Reservation, lost an attempt to prevent Netflix and a production company from using previously recorded video of her and her husband in the “Tiger King” sequel, which began airing on November 17. .
A federal sentencing judge issued a recommendation Friday denying Baskins’ bid to block the use of the footage as an inadmissible prior detention under the First Amendment.
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