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'Tiger King' Joe Exotic sends plea for pardon to President Trump, reports say

The former Oklahoma zookeeper is currently serving a 22-year federal prison sentence for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and for killing tigers.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Editor's Note: The video above is from a White House press conference on April 8, 2020.

Joe Exotic, the star of Netflix's hit docuseries "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," is officially submitting an application for a pardon from the Trump administration, according to multiple reports.

CBS News said that Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, submitted a handwritten letter where he calls the president his hero and insists that he did not get a fair trial.

Maldonado-Passage, a former Oklahoma zookeeper, is currently serving a 22-year federal prison sentence after he was found guilty for his role in a murder-for-hire plot to kill Florida wildlife sanctuary owner Carole Baskin, and for killing tigers in his animal park.

"Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please," CBS said he wrote in the letter. "My parents and my life and everything we ever worked for was stolen by criminals who got everything."

 An official Instagram account for Joe Exotic on Tuesday asked for letters to be sent to the acting pardon attorney to show support. It said an official pardon request would be made in less than 48 hours. TMZ said Maldonado-Passage's attorney is headed to Washington D.C. on Wednesday to present the pardon application.

According to TMZ, Exotic also claimed in his 257-page case that he was sexually assault by jail staff. Federal prison sources denied Exotic's allegations, TMZ said.

RELATED: 'Tiger King' zoo closes permanently to the public

During an April press conference, Trump said he'd "take a look" when asked if he would consider pardoning Maldonado-Passage. That same week, Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., joked he would lobby for a pardon for Joe Exotic on SiriusXM’s “Jim Norton and Sam Roberts" radio show. 

RELATED: President Trump jokes about a pardon for 'Tiger King' Joe Exotic: 'I'll take a look'

A change.org petition was launched since the docuseries debuted to get President Trump to pardon Joe Exotic. It currently has more than 59,000 signatures.

In June, a federal judge awarded Carole Baskin ownership of the private Oklahoma zoo run that used to be run by Maldonado-Passage. Baskin is set to appear on the next season of "Dancing With the Stars," which premieres Sept. 14. 

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