Tiger King star Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is speaking out after failing to receive a pardon from Donald Trump before the former president left office.
Exotic, who is serving a 22-year sentence for violating federal wildlife laws and a failed murder-for-hire plot against nemesis Carole Baskin, released a statement on Wednesday, hours after he expected to be granted clemency.
The 57-year-old took aim at the former president in a scathing tweet on Wednesday, writing, “I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump.”
“I only mattered to Don Jr. when he needed to make a comment about me to boost his social media post,” the convicted felon, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, continued, referencing a meme Donald Trump Jr. had shared online last year, in which the then-president’s face was superimposed onto Maldonado-Passage’s mugshot.
“Boy were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for Equal Justice? His corrupt friends all come first,” Maldonado-Passage tweeted.
In the wake of Trump’s pardons, his target Baskin said that she was relieved Maldonado-Passage had not been granted clemency.
“I’m taking a deep breath because I feel such a sense of relief,” she told Fox News on Wednesday. “From the very time that he was sentenced I have worried about there being a presidential pardon that could undo all of the hard work that went into bringing this person to justice. When today at noon a new president was sworn in, I felt like I was finally safe from that threat.”
Maldonado-Passage began petitioning to have Trump pardon him last March, releasing a video proclaiming his innocence and having his legal team repaint a bus with the words: “President Trump, Please Pardon Joe Exotic.”
He later reportedly wrote a lengthy letter to Trump in which he claimed that he has been sexually abused in prison.