"Tiger King" star Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence and seeking a presidential pardon, has claimed that he has been kidnapped for a "political agenda."
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. However, in an audio recording for the Social Media Superstar Awards, which was obtained by The Sun, Exotic stated that his conviction was a "conspiracy" and an "obstruction of justice."
"What has been done to me puts a black cloud over our entire justice system in America and our leaders of this great country should be ashamed that our own Department of Justice can take part in kidnapping me for a political agenda to only end big cats in America," he said.
Exotic added that he would "use his new platform" to "speak for justice and prison reform" as well as for the "thousands of men and women in this country who have been wrongfully convicted or over sentenced" for no reason "other than for profit."
"To all of the people in the streets of America trying to end racism; slavery is very much alive in America, folks. It is camouflaged by prison walls," he continued. "Please ask President Biden to make history and sign every pardon on his desk and every compassionate release at the beginning of his term, not at the end."
In January, Exotic sent emails seeking a pardon from President Joe Biden after former president Donald Trump refused to grant him freedom during his last few hours in the White House.
In the correspondence, Exotic said he has faith in the Biden administration and is confident the president can make a difference in criminal justice and prison reform, according to TMZ. He further stated, Vice President Kamala Harris could "help clean up the corruption in the DOJ and other agencies."
Trump pardoned 73 people, including his former aide Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne, as some of his final acts before exiting the White House. Exotic's team was so confident in a pardon, it had readied a celebratory limousine and a hair and wardrobe team for the reality TV star but he did not make the list.
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