Convicted felon Joe Exotic announces bid for 2024 US presidential election

Infamous ‘Tiger King’ star is currently serving a 21-year prison sentence

Inga Parkel
Wednesday 15 March 2023 21:12 GMT
Donald Trump considers pardon for Joe Exotic

Joe Exotic has formally announced his candidacy for the 2024 US Presidential Election.

The convicted felon and star of Netflix’s hit docuseries Tiger King is currently serving a 21-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of several crimes related to a murder-for-hire plot against wildlife activist Carol Baskin, in addition to numerous violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Exotic – real name Joseph Allen Maldonado – shared the news from his social media accounts, writing: “It’s official! I am now a candidate for President of the United States in 2024.”

Below, he shared a link to his campaign website, where he clarified the news was not a joke.

“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.

He accused the Department of Justice of “perjury” for his imprisonment, adding: “The only thing I did was put five very old, crippled tigers to sleep in the most humane way possible and it was approved by my USDA Inspector, so it's time to get over it.

“Peta [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] kills thousands of animals a year. Carole has killed over 226 big cats and most of you eat some kind of animal everyday, so it's time to move past this issue.”

The former zoo owner and TV personality rose to fame through Netflix’s 2020 true-crime documentary, which focused on Exotic’s rivalry with Baskin.

In 2019, he was found guilty on two counts of hiring hitmen to murder Baskin, along with eight counts of violating the Lacey Act by forging wildlife records, and nine more counts for killing five tigers and selling tigers across state lines.

He was sentenced to 22 years in prison, which was later reduced to 21 years during a 2022 re-sentencing trial.

As an incarcerated person, 60-year-old Exotic has the legal right to run for president of the United States.

This marks his second presidential campaign, following his first run as an independent in the 2016 election against former US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

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