Joe Exotic could be a free man by the end of 2020. After months of petitioning his early release, the Tiger King subject's pardon request has reportedly reached the desk of President Donald Trump, who, in the final days of his time in office, has issued a number of pardons.
The 57-year-old, who became a viral sensation following the March-debut of Netflix's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, filed court documents Tuesday dismissing his pardon lawsuit after learning that his request has been received by the president, according to TMZ. Exotic and his legal team initially filed the six-page complaint last week, suing the US Justice Department over the Trump administration’s rejection of his official pardon request. In the suit, Exotic argued the denial was not valid because the request was not presented directly to Trump. It named Acting Pardon Attorney Rosalind Sargent-Burns, accusing her of not forwarding on the formal request while claiming that she was required to do so.
"Many people have come out and publicly expressed their disagreement with Joe Exotic's conviction and subsequent sentence," the complaint, obtained by the New York Post, read in part. "Among those, are members of the president's own family. Donald Trump Junior has been an advocate for Joe Exotic to be pardoned."
Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted with eight counts of falsifying records after he violated the Lacey Act, nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, and two counts of murder-for-hire for his plot targeting Carole Baskin. Currently one year into his sentence, Exotic has spent much of his time in jail hoping for a pardon, even calling on a number of big names to help free him, including Kim Kardashian. He submitted his first pardon application on Sept. 8, though he had called on the president long before that to pardon him. In a June letter to the president pleading for a pardon, Exotic said he would be "dead in 2-3 months" if he did not receive help. He wrote another letter in September, and his representatives spent around $10,000 at Trump's Washington, DC, hotel in a bid to encourage a pardon.
At this time, it remains unclear if Trump would actually pardon Exotic. The current president previously said he would consider a pardon, telling reporters in April, "I'll take a look at it." Exotic’' team seems hopeful that a pardon is well on its way, with Eric Love, the Tiger King team leader, telling TMZ in November Exotic's legal team has received "information and multiple phone calls" from Washington, D.C. regarding "the pardon" of Exotic. Love was so confident a pardon would happen that he even arranged a standby limo to escort Exotic off prison grounds should he be released.