Court Orders Joe Exotic’s Anger in ‘Tiger King’


The feud escalated when Mr. Maldonado-Passage changed his cat’s name to “Big Cat Rescue Entertainment,” a similar name to Ms. Baskin’s shelter, “Big Cat Rescue.” Prosecutors said Ms. Baskin won a $1 million lawsuit against her due to a name dispute and filed for bankruptcy because she could not afford her attorney’s fees.

“It was a competition in heaven,” the court ruling said.

Mr. Maldonado-Passage decided to retaliate by recruiting two people to kill Ms. Baskin in Florida in 2017, a federal jury found. Zoo worker Alan Glover paid $3,000 to go to Tampa and behead Mrs. Baskin.

But the appeals court ruling said Mr Glover “did not go beyond partying on Florida beaches”.

A month later, Mr. Maldonado-Passage offered a $10,000 payment to a man who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. He was arrested in 2018.

“Despite all their efforts, Maldonado-Passage’s murderous plans have failed,” the court said in its ruling.

Mr. Maldonado-Passage now awaits a new sentence as he languishes in a Texas prison where he tried and failed to persuade President Donald Trump to pardon him. He hopes President Biden will release him.

“President Biden, if you’re listening,” Maldonado-Passage said on the recording, “now is the time when you need to be a world hero and sign this pardon.”

John M. Phillips, another attorney for Mr. Maldonado-Passage, said in a statement that his team had new evidence that could change the outcome of the case. The attorney alleges that Ms. Baskin’s husband, Howard Baskin, spoke to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service years ago about the infiltration of Mr. Maldonado-Passage’s zoo.


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