President Trump says he'll 'look into' pardoning 'Tiger King' Joe Exotic

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Thursday, April 9, 2020
Pres. Trump considers pardoning Tiger King's Joe Exotic
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WATCH: President Trump had a funny exchange with reporters about the former roadside zoo owner who faces 22 years in prison.

Could the breakout star of the Netflix documentary "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" be the next to receive a pardon from President Trump?

While it's too soon to know for sure, the president did at least say he would look into it.

Toward the end of Wednesday's Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, a New York Post reporter asked about the hugely popular Netflix star, Joe Exotic, after the president's eldest son joked about lobbying his father to pardon the former roadside zookeeper.

The question resulted in this exchange.

President Trump: I don't know, I know nothing about it. He has 22 years for what? What did he do?

Reporter: He allegedly hired someone to murder an animal rights activist. But he said that he didn't do that and he was --

President Trump: Do you think that he didn't do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon?

Reporter: No, I'm not advocating --

President Trump: As a reporter, you're not allowed to do that.You'd be criticized by these -- Would you recommend a pardon?

Second reporter: I'm not weighing in on --

President Trump: I don't think you would. I don't think you would.

In the end, the president said he would "look into it."

Earlier this year, "Joe Exotic," whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot.

He was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill Carole Baskin, who had tried to shut him down. She accused the former Oklahoma zoo owner of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs.

Baskin is the owner of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.

In retaliation, Maldonado-Passage raised questions about Baskin's former husband, Jack "Don" Lewis, who disappeared in 1997.

His disappearance has created speculation about him and Baskin, along with the mystery about what happened to him.

Maldonado-Passage has repeatedly alleged that Baskin killed her husband and possibly fed him to tigers.

The case has drawn so much interest, the sheriff's office has even asked the public for tips.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.