Talk about a Hail Mary! Tiger King star Joe Exotic is reportedly suing the Department of Justice in a desperate attempt to receive a presidential pardon from Donald Trump before he leaves office next month.
According to a six-page complaint filed by Exotic’s lawyer and first obtained by Deadline, the former big cat enthusiast is demanding that the DOJ make a recommendation about his pardon request to Trump.
In the report, Exotic’s lawyer argues against the Office of Pardon Attorney’s decision in September to reject the disgraced zookeeper's application for pardon without sending it to the President for him to review. The office does make recommendations to the President on possible pardons, but a president can pardon any federal convict of their choosing.
A DOJ spokesperson has not publicly commented on Exotic’s request but, according to the departments guidelines, it requires "a petitioner to wait a period of at least five years after conviction or release from confinement (whichever is later) before filing a pardon application.” Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2019.
OK! was the first to report that Exotic asked President Trump for a pardon. The reality star submitted a 257-page document where he claimed he was “sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms.”
“Please be my hero…,” Exotic pleaded to the President. “My hands are damaged from the abuse in jail so I’m sorry for the soppy sic writing and spelling. #TrumpJr2024.”
The 57-year-old claims that he has been a victim of hate crimes since he has been locked up. “If you’re gay you’re not allowed in the TV room to watch TV… you’re treated the same as sex offenders by the inmates.”
The Netflix star was convicted on 17 charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire against animal activist Carole Baskin. Exotic was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill the DWTS alum after she continuously tried to shut his business down, accusing the Oklahoma animal park staff of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs.
Dr. Jeffrey Crouch — an American University professor and author of The Presidential Pardon Power — told PEOPLE that Exotic’s latest move was “creative and aggressive,” but that “the pardon attorney has no obligation that I know of to do this — and even if they did, I don’t know that it would do Joe Exotic any good anyway.”