‘Tiger King’ star Joe Exotic resentenced to 21 years in prison

Joe Exotic was handed a new prison sentence on Friday.

A federal judge resentenced the “Tiger King” star, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, to 21 years in prison on Friday, rejecting pleas from the former zookeeper to free him from prison.

He was convicted in a murder-for-hire case involving animal welfare activist Carole Baskin. Both were featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Maldonado-Passage was resentenced after a federal appeals court ruled last year than improper sentencing guidelines were used.

‘TIGER KING’ STAR JOE EXOTIC PLEADS FOR PUBLIC’S HELP IN PAYING OFF NEMESIS CAROLE BASKIN

Attorneys for the former Oklahoma zookeeper said he was postponing off his cancer treatments until after his resentencing.

 In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado answers a question during an interview at the zoo he runs in Wynnewood, Okla. Maldonado known also as "Tiger King" Joe Exotic had a court appearance Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, for a resentencing hearing. 

 In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado answers a question during an interview at the zoo he runs in Wynnewood, Okla. Maldonado known also as “Tiger King” Joe Exotic had a court appearance Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, for a resentencing hearing. 
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The 58-year-old was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison after he was convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal welfare activist Carole Baskin. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Maldonado-Passage that the court should have treated them as one conviction at sentencing because they both involved the same goal of killing Baskin, 60, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida and had criticized Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of animals.

Netflix‘s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” was a breakout hit as people were forced to stay home in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic from Netflix's

Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic from Netflix’s “Tiger King.”
(Netflix)

Prosecutors said Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin during a recorded December 2017 meeting. In the recording, he told the agent, “Just like follow her into a mall parking lot and just cap her and drive off.” Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys have said their client — who once operated a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City — wasn’t being serious.

Maldonado-Passage, who has maintained his innocence, also was convicted of killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records. His attorneys asked for a lesser sentence than what the guidelines call for, alleging “imperfect entrapment, sentencing manipulation, and outrageous government conduct.”

“From decisions made in the initial stages of the investigation to charging decisions to overzealous sentencing recommendations, one thing remains clear: this case was about doing whatever it took to put Mr. Maldonado-Passage behind bars for as long as possible,” his attorneys wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

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The former zookeeper was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison after he was convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal welfare activist Carole Baskin.

The former zookeeper was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison after he was convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill animal welfare activist Carole Baskin.
(Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)

Federal prosecutors said in court records that they would defer recommending a new sentence for Maldonado-Passage because of the allegations he raised.

“In the unlikely event that any of these claims withstand scrutiny and ultimately are determined to be credible, those developments could impact the United States’ ultimate sentencing recommendation” because the prosecutors are obligated to investigate them, U.S. Attorney Robert Troester wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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