Joe Exotic’s former lawyer is accusing him of dealing drugs while in prison.
The Tiger King star, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 21-year jail term after he was convicted of wildlife violations and planning a murder for hire plot against Carol Baskin. While in prison, Joe accused his former lawyer, Francisco Hernandez, of mismanaging his case, but in a 147-page court filing, the lawyer denied the claims and accused Joe of being a drug dealer in prison! Not only that, Francisco alleged that the former Netflix star was using his earnings from his hit show and fan donations to buy illegal substances.
As per The Sun, Joe bought the drugs using the Tiger King business account which also includes money from book deals and music royalties. Hernandez’s lawyer, Roland Johnson, stated in the lawsuit, “Unbeknownst to Mr. Hernandez, some payments that Mr. Maldonado-Passage directed Mr. Hernandez to make [from his account] were cloaked payments for drug transactions in the prison.”
The court filings also stated that the Tiger King star would lie to his lawyer about the payments and say they were for tiger food and other payments. In the filing, Mr. Hernandez also claimed that he only knew about the true nature of the payments in 2021 after Joe had been caught with a burner phone — this was two years after the start of his 2019 trial. “Of course, Mr. Hernandez told Mr. Maldonado-Passage to cease facilitating the drug payments,” Johnson said. The lawyer claimed he had email evidence of Joe directing him to make the payments. Insiders claimed that Joe Exotic pulled off the drug scam by sending payments to criminals on the outside who would then smuggle drugs into jail. In exchange for the drugs, Joe would be offered protection and gifts from other inmates.
In 2020, Joe accused prison guards of abusing him while he was serving time in prison. He sent a letter to podcast host, Josh Belcher, where he detailed the injustices he was going through in an effort to get a pardon from the then president Donald Trump. “But what is worse is going on in places like this, being in jail gives guards a free pass for abuse. I have scars from the skin coming off of my arms from being strapped in a chair so tight and so long just for demanding answers,” Joe wrote.
Joe Exotic is set to be released sometime in 2037.