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Joe Exotic’s lawyers have been busy filing a trove of legal documents in a bid for a possible new trial.
The ‘Tiger King’ star, legally known as Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence in connection with a myriad of federal crimes, including the killing of five tigers, falsifying wildlife records, and the botched murder-for-hire scheme of big cat activist Carole Baskin.
On April 1, Maldonado-Passage's lawyers filed an expansive 67-page court motion seeking a new trial in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Oklahoma. The imprisoned exotic animal collector also filed a lengthy legal brief on Tuesday requesting redress from the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The new wave of court filings “tells the story which was never told in ‘Tiger King’ or Mr. Maldonado’s criminal trial,” the jailed Netflix star’s attorney John M. Phillips told Oxygen.com on Wednesday.
“The 169 exhibits attached to it is the story,” Phillips added. “Merely looking over the titles to the exhibits shows some of the new evidence we’ve obtained, which includes hundreds of recorded phone calls which show Mr. Maldonado was set-up, evidence Mr. [Jeff] Lowe and Mr. [James] Garretson had a deep-seeded hatred of Mrs. [Carole] Baskin and desire to harm her and both Mr. Lowe and Mr. Garrettson brag about the favorable treatment they received from the federal government despite their vast criminal misconduct and documented histories of mistreatment of animals."
The exhibits included photographs, videos, texts and recorded phone calls, which allegedly implicate a number of key cooperating government witnesses, including Jeff Lowe, his wife Lauren Lowe, Allen Glover and James Garretson in a conspiracy to commit perjury, according to the newly filed motion, which Oxygen.com obtained.
The motion also accuses prosecutors of committing numerous Brady Violations by neglecting to disclose possible exculpatory evidence to Maldonado-Passage’s legal team.
“This new evidence is of such a serious nature that it justifies the Court’s granting of a new trial,” the documents claim. “The jury was not given the opportunity to hear important testimony that bore on important issues in the case. The real ‘controversy’ was not fully tried and therefore, a new trial is required. The integrity of the justice system should afford a jury the opportunity to hear and evaluate the evidence.”
Maldonado-Passage’s legal team, who also accused federal prosecutors of a perjury conspiracy, say their exhibits contain extensive proof of fraud and collusion.
“I can say this for certain: Joseph Maldonado deserves and will get a hearing which tells the real story,” Phillips added. “It’s often at the slow, frustrating pace of the justice system, but it will happen and people will see Joe Exotic and those who set him up in a different light.
Maldonado-Passage also issued a written statement from prison on social media through his legal team.
“I sit here wasting my life away because the U.S. Attorney in OKC does not care enough to admit they arrested me and took me to trial using a bunch of people they knew then and the world knows now done nothing but lied to rob me of my life. Stopping the public from petting tigers and cubs means more to the Department of Justice than perjury, fabricated evidence and a plot to kill me does,” Maldonado-Passage wrote in a statement published to Twitter on Wednesday.
The former zookeeper also accused Oklahoma City federal prosecutors of covering up “sex trafficking, credit card fraud and much more to push this Big Cat Safety Act Agenda for Carole Baskin and PETA.”
“I was punished with 20 bulls--t paper charges for asking for a fair trial on 2 bogus bulls--t murder-for-hire charges the world now knows was all made up but here I sit waiting for our Attorney General to give a s--t,” he added.
Last year, an appellate judge found the trial judge had erred in tallying Maldonado-Passage’s 22-year sentence. A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver ruled that the trial court unfairly treated his two convictions separately, rather than concurrently, under sentencing guidelines.
Maldonado-Passage received a 21-year sentence at his January resentencing hearing
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