Joe Exotic, the former zoo operator and convicted felon whose life has become the subject of the hit Netflix show Tiger King, was reportedly granted an extension in his wrongful imprisonment federal lawsuit this week.
The controversial showman, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, requested an extension of at least 30 days in the suit, which seeks nearly $94m in damages from the assistant US attorney who prosecuted him and several witnesses, as well as the Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior.
He was convicted last year of falsifying wildlife records, killing five tigers in his possession, selling off tiger cubs illegally and attempting to arrange the murder of an animal sanctuary founder in Florida named Carole Baskin.
While Maldonado-Passage often spoke about wanting to kill Ms Baskin, who was also featured in the Netflix show for publicly opposing his treatment of the animals at his zoo, he has maintained his innocence and claimed he was convicted based on perjured testimony.
A federal judge was set to dismiss the lawsuit, with a 28 April deadline for Maldonado-Passage to file an objection.
However, US District Judge Scott Palk extended the deadline an additional 30 days, according to E! News, after reportedly receiving a handwritten letter from Maldonado-Passage from the Federal Medical Centre in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Sorry for the handwritten letter,” he wrote. “However I am being isolated at the Federal Medical Center [in] Fort Worth and have NO access to a computer, phone, email or libary [sic] to respond to the government’s last request.”
He added: “I am asking for at least [a] 30-day extension to the deadline of April 28th, 2020 in hopes I am allowed access to use things in order to properly answer their request.”
Maldonado-Passage has denied involvement in a murder-for-hire plot which he was found guilty of spearheading in April 2019. The former zoo operator was charged with paying a hitman $3,000 to murder Ms Baskin.