Hey all you cool cats and kittens: Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage's — a.k.a. Joe Exotic — 22-year prison sentence has been vacated by a federal appeals court.
According to court documents obtained by Oklahoma’s News 4, the United States 10th District Court has ordered the 58-year-old be resentenced following his conviction, which remains affirmed.
However, that doesn't mean the Tiger King will find himself out from behind bars anytime soon. The Daily News reports that, despite the court finding that a lower court made a mistake by not combining his two murder-for-hire convictions at his sentencing, the panel did not order his release.
In 2018, Maldonado-Passage was arrested for allegedly hiring two hitmen to kill his nemesis Carole Baskin. The former zookeeper — who became a household name following Netflix’s 2020 series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness — was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of murder-for-hire in 2019.
Earlier this year, Maldonado-Passage expressed his disappointment after then-president Donald Trump failed to pardon the TV personality for his alleged crimes. "I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump," he tweeted on Inauguration Day, adding, “Boy were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for Equal Justice? His corrupt friends all come first.”
For her part, Baskin admitted she was grateful Exotic didn’t receive a pardon, telling Fox News at the time, “I'm taking a deep breath because I feel such a sense of relief.”
In a shocking turn of events, Baskin's husband Howard told the Mirror in April that the couple would assist in Maldonado-Passage's early release on the condition that he support the Big Cat Public Safety Act. (For his part, the former tiger wrangler told Entertainment Tonight in response, "It is time for Carole and Howard to put up or shut the hell up because I'm accepting their offer.")
Meanwhile, in the unlikely event that Maldonado-Passage finds himself free anytime soon, he’ll be heading home to an empty house. As OK! previously reported, Maldonado-Passage and Dillon Passage split up after three years of marriage in March. A few months later, Dillon debuted his new boyfriend, a man named John — who he referred to as "his rock" — on social media.