Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic” or the “Tiger King,” announced that he is running for president in 2024, according to a report from KXAN.
The 21-year federal prison sentence he’s currently serving after he was convicted in 2018 on two-counts of murder-for-hire may complicate his candidacy, but he says that’s not going to stop him.
“Thank you for your interest in my Campaign. Yes, I know I am in Federal Prison and you might think this is a joke but it’s not. It is my Constitutional right to do this even from here,” he wrote on his campaign website.
“So put aside that I am gay, that I am in prison for now, that I used drugs in the past, that I had more then one boyfriend at once and that Carole hates my guts. This all has not a thing to do with me being able to be your voice. The best thing you have going for supporting me is that I am used to fighting my whole life just to get by. I am broke, they have taken everything I ever worked for away, and it’s time we take this country back,” he added.
Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage gave a person $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to Florida to carry out the murder of big cat activist Carole Baskin and “allegedly agreed to pay thousands more after the deed,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma.
A grand jury also indicted Maldonado-Passage on an additional 19 counts of wildlife charges, including the violation of the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act. Prosecutors say he shot and killed five tigers in October 2017 to make room in cages for other big cats and sold tiger cubs to raise money.
He’s running as a Libertarian, which makes perfect sense. Nevertheless, he seems to taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook of grievances, blaming his troubles on the “Department of Justice,” “corrupt Assistant U.S. Attorneys,” and “corrupt FBI Agents.”