The Real Reason Joe Exotic Didn't Get Pardoned

Prior to leaving the White House to retreat to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, former President Donald Trump carried out 143 pardons as one of his final acts in office. The pardon list — which was released in an official statement from the White House on Jan. 20, 2021 — includes 73 pardons and commuted sentences for 70 individuals, including celebrities and political figures. Although Trump granting clemency to rappers Kodak Black and Lil Wayne raised eyebrows, the most surprising thing is who didn't make it to the list: Joe Exotic.

The Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness star was declined a pardon by the former president after promising to "take a look at the case", per Newsweek. Exotic, born Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year prison sentence on several counts of animal abuse and plotting to murder his rival Carole Baskin, per the United States Department of Justice. Exotic and his private investigator Eric Love held onto hope that Trump would pardon the former before the end of his term on Jan. 20, 2021 at noon.

Just a day before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' inauguration, Love tweeted, "We are still waiting on the pardon." However, Exotic's hope to be pardoned didn't come true.

Here's how Joe Exotic planned to celebrate if given a pardon by Donald Trump

We all know how that saying goes about making an assumption. Unfortunately, Joe Exotic and his legal team might've missed the memo. Exotic, who has made several attempts in the past to get pardoned by former President Donald Trump, has served a year of his 22-year prison sentence in Fort Worth as of this report. After the news broke of Trump's pardon list, Exotic's lawyer Francisco Hernandez shared a response on Facebook: "It is the President's Constitutional right to Pardon and we have to accept and respect his use of discretion. Our mission is just and continues."

Eric Love, a private investigator on Exotic's legal team, had previously been optimistic that Trump would grant their wishes of clemency. Just a day before Inauguration Day, Love expressed his confidence that Exotic would be going home in style. "This time tomorrow, we're going to be celebrating," Love told "We're confident enough we already have a limousine parked about half a mile from the prison. We are really in action mode right now." 

Additionally, Love boasted about having a style team on hand for Exotic in the event of his release — accompanied by a pre-recorded thank you video for Trump, of course. "We have it queued up and ready to go," Love continued. "As soon as we get the word, we're going to execute that video to the White House and thank them." Yikes... thanks for nothing.