Updated December 22, 2020.

No, the Tiger King is not back.

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Tiger King star Joseph Maldonado-Passage, AKA Joe Exotic, is still determined to get out of prison as soon as possible. The former owner and operator of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma who claimed to be the most prolific breeder of tigers in the United States was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse. Currently, he is serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison.

Determined to be released from prison early, the convicted felon is now suing the Department of Justice in his latest attempt to receive a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.

According to reports, Maldonado-Passage’s lawyer filed a suit on Wednesday which demands that the DOJ make a recommendation about his request for a pardon to Donald Trump. The filing argues against the Office of the Pardon Attorney’s September decision to reject his application for pardon without sending it to Trump.

The DOJ often makes recommendations for potential presidential pardons, but a president does have the power to pardon any federal convict on his own.

Earlier this year, Joe Exotic was put into solitary confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The star of the Netflix series “Tiger King,”  Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage, was put into isolation amid Coronavirus. The news came, according to a representative for the former zookeeper, after fans campaigned for his release.

According to a post shared with Maldonado-Passage’s Instagram page, he’s been moved to a room with a hospital bed and a window.


“Recently, most of you became aware of the fact that Joe was being unjustly held in solitary confinement for an extended period of time. Two thousand of you were kind enough to take time out of your busy lives, in spite of all that is going on in this world around us today, to write and ask that he be released,” a statement shared to Exotic’s Instagram page read. “It is with much sincere gratitude that we can tell you all today your efforts have paid off! Joe has called this very day to let us know that the day has finally come. For the first time in two years he is able to simply look out of a window into the world beyond while being lifted out of hopelessness and desperation by the kindness shown from all of you.”

According to People.com, Maldonado-Passage is being held in Fort Worth FMC. FMC is a medical center operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

In early April, the Netflix star had been transferred to Fort Worth, Texas as fears of over the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic gained momentum. At the time of his move to confinement, Dillon Passage (Maldonado-Passage’s husband) said in an interview with SiriusXM Radio Andy show at the time that “We speak like three to five times every day, but since he’s been moved to this new facility, they are putting him on a COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at, there were cases.”

If you’ve yet to see Netflix’s series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” Maldonado-Passage was featured as a sort of jack of bizarre trades and was ultimately found guilty in 2019 for paying a man to kill another self-proclaimed big cat conservationist. He was also found guilty of falsifying wildlife records and violating the Endangered Species Act.