Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage says his “wrongful” prosecution was based on sexual discrimination and caused his mother’s death.
Joe Maldonado-Passage—better known as “Joe Exotic,” the star of a new Netflix series—is asking for a presidential pardon.,
“Exotic,” reports The New York Post, was convicted in a murder-for-hire plot. He was also notorious for keeping rare wildlife as pets, violating the Endangered Species Act. Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to serve more than 22 years behind bars after a jury found him guilty of euthanizing five tigers and attempting to hire hitmen.
Now, the self-described “big cat enthusiast” is suing the federal government as well as several of his former business partners.
In his recently filed lawsuit, Maldonado-Passage is demanding about $94 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Department of Interior. He’s also demanding recompense from long-time partner Jeff Lowe, as well as a handful of old colleagues.
The lawsuit, says ET, requests at an estimated $78 million from the federal government, citing loss of personal property as well as the destruction of about two decades of “research and care of 200 generic tigers and cross-breeds for 365 days per year.”
Maldonado-Passage’s use of the term of “generic” tiger is integral to another claim—that the federal government erroneously and maliciously put the so-called “generic” tiger on the endangered species list for the sole purpose of shutting down exotic animal dealers.
“The FWS and its agents are clearly enforcing these laws under pressure of the animal rights groups,” the lawsuit states. He says that a Fish and Wildlife agent also “knowingly accepted statements he knew were false, allowing his witnesses to lie under oath.”
Maldonado-Passage further alleges that the government’s action are akin “to stealing my property and promoting an animal rights agenda.”
Interestingly, “Exotic” doesn’t stop there—he says he was maliciously prosecuted, too, on account of his sexuality. The suit states that he was “discriminated against because he is the only person charged with this statute because [he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds.”
Maldonado-Passage also asserts that his prosecution, as well as his property seizures, led to the death of his mother, Shirley.
“False arrest, entrapment, false imprisonment, all contributing to my mother’s death,” the suit states.
For that, Joe Exotic is demanding another $15 million.
“Exotic”—who the Post notes is also a polygamist—demanded a presidential pardon shortly afterward.
“This lawsuit has been filed in the name of Justice, The Trump Administration must be aware of the Overreach, perjury, abuse of power and failure to uphold the Oath of their position which is truth and Justice for all,” Maldonado-Passage wrote in a Facebook post in mid-March.