FILE-In this file photo from August 28, 2013, Joseph Maldonado Passage is seen visiting the Wynnewood zoo that he once ran. His attorney said that the ex-zookeeper had been moved to North Carolina as a federal prisoner after receiving a diagnosis of cancer. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

BUTNER, N.C. (AP) — The former Oklahoma zookeeper known as “Tiger King” Joe Exotic, a prominent figure in a NetflixA documentary series was transferred from the United States to North Carolina. Federal inmates were released. a cancer diagnosisAccording to the attorney, he is.

Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado Passage) was transferred on board a plane from Fort Worth to Butner in North Carolina late Tuesday or Wednesday. John Phillips, the defense attorney, said that this happened. Phillips posted his Saturday statement via Twitter, saying that Maldonado Passage had originally been scheduled to be transferred late this month.

Phillips said Maldonado-Passage told him that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was getting medical treatment and tests “for a host of issues.” Phillips said prison medical care “isn’t the best and justice is slow.”

“It’s a competition of life and liberty no one wants any part of,” he added.

The July issue of a federal appeals court ruled Maldonado Passage deserves a lower sentence because of his participation in a plot to murder for hire and violate federal wildlife laws.

After being convicted for trying to hire two men to murder Carole Baskin, a Florida animal rights activist, he was sentenced to 22 years federal prison in January 2020. Three-judge panels from the U.S. 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Denver determined that his sentencing guidelines were incorrectly applied to both of these convictions by calculating the sentence.

Appeal court panel ruled that his recommended sentencing range should not be less than 17 1/2 and under 22 years, but between 22 and 27 years imprisonment as calculated by the trial court.

Maldonado-Passage and his blond mullet were featured in the Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Meanwhile, Baskin, of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue sanctuary, lost an effort to stop Netflix and a production company from using previously recorded video of her and her husband in the “Tiger King” sequel, which began airing Nov. 17.

A federal magistrate judge issued a recommendation Friday denying the Baskins’ bid to block use of the footage as an impermissible prior restraint under the First Amendment.


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