Taking precautions. Tiger King star Joe Exotic was transferred to a federal prison medical center in Fort Worth, Texas, In Touch can confirm. According to his husband, Dillon Passage, the 57-year-old (real name: Joseph Maldonado-Passage) is in “COVID-19 isolation” after his fellow inmates tested positive for the virus.
The zookeeper is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence. In September 2018, Maldanado-Passage was arrested for plotting to kill his rival and owner of Big Cat Rescue Carole Baskin, as well as various animal abuse charges. He was found guilty of 21 counts, including two counts of murder-for-hire, illegally selling and breeding exotic animals and selling or attempting to sell tigers without a permit. He was found guilty in April 2019 and was later sentenced in January 2020.
The big cat lover still has maintained his innocence while in prison and filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI on March 17. “This lawsuit has been filed in the name of justice, the Trump Administration must be made aware of the overreach, perjury, abuse of power and the failure to uphold the oath of their position which is truth and justice for all,” his statement reads.
Maldanado-Passage allegedly said killing his nemesis would be his dying wish after he alleged he had cancer, journalist Robert Moor exclusively revealed to In Touch. “He said, ‘If my doctor gives me two months to live, I’m going to Florida and I’m going to kill Carole Baskin,’” the host of the podcast “Joe Exotic: Tiger King” and reporter, who covered Maldanado-Passage’s story long before the documentary, claimed.
“[Joe] said, ‘I have an AR-15 set aside,’” Moor alleged. “He said, ‘I never used to dream about seeing someone’s brains on a wall [until now].’”
Previously, Moor had shadowed Maldanado-Passage for a week to collect information on the Tiger King for a story. During that time, the jailbird allegedly told Moor he was dying of bone marrow cancer, although the journalist believes Maldanado-Passage lied about his diagnosis, as there doesn’t appear to be any proof of his illness. On March 24, Moor took to Twitter stating Maldanado-Passage had told “everyone” he was dying from prostate in addition to bone marrow cancer. “I later learned he just had an infected prostate, dehydration and a bad outbreak of herpes,” he wrote.
Moor disclosed Maldanado-Passage often sent mixed messages to those around him — making them believe he was kidding about killing Baskin. “He said stuff like that frequently and people would laugh. So I left there wondering if any of it was real because he had a TV crew with him all the time and he treated journalists just like another form of media, like an audience. So I was like, ‘Is he manipulating me? Is he joking? Is he just trying to get more attention?’ I couldn’t really tell.”