One person who will not be signing a petition to get Joseph Maldonado-Passage a presidential pardon is Nancy Grace. The former prosecutor and television host ripped into "Joe Exotic" during TMZ's Fox special Tiger King - What Really Went Down?. She suggested the jury that put Maldonado-Passage behind bars for hiring a hitman to kill Carole Baskin had more than enough evidence to justify their decision.
"They didn't have to believe a witness. They could hear Joe Exotic themselves," she said of the jury. "They heard others surreptitiously recorded tapes, where the hitman was talking about where they're going to get the money. Ask the jury! They had the evidence. They didn't just watch a Netflix 'documentary.' They heard the real deal. They heard tape recordings of Joe Exotic sitting with an FBI agent, plotting the murder of Carole Baskin."
Grace also slammed Allen Glover, the Jeff Lowe associate Maldonado-Passage hired to kill Baskin first. "Yes, he was rude. He was gross, very dislikeable, but he took the stand," Grace said. "And the jury believed him."
Grace also agreed that while Baskin, who owns Big Cat Rescue in Florida, might not be a great person, she did not deserve to be murdered. "Did I say Carole Baskin is an angel? No," she said. "That's not what I'm saying, but no one deserves to die at the hands of a hitman. I don't care who the victim is or what their reputation is or what they've done wrong. It's not about her. It's about the hits."
In 2019, Maldonado-Passage was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin, as well as violations of the Endangered Species Act. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. As seen in Netflix's Tiger King, he first hired Glover, who worked for Lowe, to go to Florida and kill Baskin. However, Glover claimed in the series he never went to Florida and did not kill Baskin. Maldonado-Passage later hired another hitman, who turned out to be an undercover federal agent.
Tiger King spent a whole episode on Maldonado-Passage's theory that Baskin killed her second husband, Don Lewis, who went missing in 1997. There is no evidence to link her to Lewis' death and police never named her a suspect. However, there were several questionable details about the circumstances behind Lewis' disappearance including the will that gave Baskin power of attorney in case of a disappearance. Lewis was declared legally dead in 2002.
"I've written wills. I've never seen a clause like that in my life!" Grace said. "And I can guarantee you this. Jack Don Lewis didn't disappear. Jack Don Lewis is dead."