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Tiger King Joe Exotic fails to nab Trump pardon

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, made famous by the hit Netflix series Tiger King, continues to serve a 22-year prison sentence.

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Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
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erin-carson
Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Leslie Katz
Erin Carson
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Joe Exotic -- before prison.

Netflix

As President Donald Trump left the White House for the last time Wednesday morning, there was something he skipped: a pardon for Joe Exotic. 

On Monday, a rep for Exotic expressed confidence Tuesday would bring a pardon for the Oklahoma zookeeper made famous by the wildly popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. The rep, Eric Love, even said Exotic had a limo on standby Tuesday outside the Texas prison where he's currently serving a 22-year sentence.

"This time tomorrow, we're going to be celebrating,' Love told Metro.co.uk

Yet Exotic, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, wasn't on the list of the 73 pardons and 70 commutations issued by Trump during his final hours. Recipients included former chief strategist Steve Bannonformer Uber and Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, and rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.

Maldonado-Passage became a meme-able internet sensation owing to the stranger-than-fiction Tiger King series, which started streaming in March 2019. The show detailed his bitter feud with nemesis Carole Baskin, owner of a big-cat sanctuary in Tampa, Florida.

Maldonado-Passage was found guilty of involvement in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Baskin. He was also found guilty on counts of falsifying wildlife records, killing tigers and selling tigers interstate. He began serving his sentence in early 2019.

Buzz of a possible pardon for Maldonado-Passage began in early December.