FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A legal team for Joe Exotic gathered in Texas in the early morning hours of January 6. The group was at Meacham Airport in Fort Worth, boarding a plane for Washington, D.C. to ask President Donald Trump for a pardon.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as the Tiger King, is serving a 22 year sentence at the federal prison in Fort Worth after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot.

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“Joe’s mother passed away a couple of years ago, his father has now passed away and we’re asking for ultimate compassion today,” private investigator Eric Love told CBS 11 News. “We’re asking for President Trump to please put the pen to the paper, to sign the pardon. We’ll fly right back home, we’ll pick up Joe, and we’ll get him returned back to his life and let him attend his father’s funeral.”

In 2019, Maldonado-Passage was found guilty of more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty and for trying to hire someone to kill big cat-rights activist Carole Baskin.

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The true crime documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” was released in March of 2020, at the height of national stay-at-home orders and catapulted the former Arlington pet store owner into the spotlight.

The series followed Maldonado-Passage’s life of as he operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma that at the time had nearly 200 big cats.

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