Not everyone is convinced Tiger King’s Joe Exotic was framed for the murder-for-hire plot of archnemesis Carole Baskin. However, that notion is “categorically false,” according to Robert Moor, a journalist who covered Joe Exotic’s story long before the documentary and the host of the podcast “Joe Exotic: Tiger King,” exclusively tells In Touch.

“The big thing, my big critique is that this documentary seems to have left a lot of people under the impression that Joe Exotic [is] innocent and that Joe Exotic was framed,” he explains. “Having sat through the trial, I can’t see how someone would come away with the impression that he was not actively attempting to hire someone to kill Carole Baskin.”

Joseph Maldonado interview, Wynnewood, Oklahoma, USA – 28 Aug 2013
Sue Ogrocki/AP/Shutterstock

While the zookeeper, 57, took the heat, many viewers wonder why the other seedy characters depicted in the documentary got away scot-free — such as former business partner Jeff Lowe, alleged hitman Allen Glover and sleazy businessman turned FBI informant James Garretson.

“Now there are questions about the trial, why were no charges ever brought against Jeff Lowe? Why were no charges ever brought against Alan Glover? And that is basically just a bargain that the feds struck. They had to make a decision — either we give Jeff Lowe a form of immunity and get Joe, or we get neither of them,” Robert says.

He continues, “They didn’t have quite enough to get Joe with, but they knew from the recordings that James Garretson had made, that Joe was trying to hire this hitman. They just couldn’t substantiate whether he was handed over the money. That’s my big critique.”

In September 2018, Joe was arrested for paying the hitman $3,000 in return for the death of the owner of Big Cat Rescue. In April 2019, he was found guilty of 21 counts including plotting to kill his rival and several animal abuse violations such as the selling and breeding of tigers. He was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on January 22.

The former presidential candidate has continued to maintain his innocence. While in prison, the “I Saw a Tiger” singer filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI on March 17. He is seeking a total of $94 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several of his former colleagues, according to court docs obtained by In Touch. On March 19, Joe called for a pardon from President Trump and announced his plans to sue on his Facebook page.

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