'They're waiting': Bizarre scenes amid speculation around Trump's pardons

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Bizarre scenes have emerged near a prison housing a scandalous criminal expecting to receive one of Donald Trump’s pardons on his final day in office.

Joe Exotic, who gained notoriety after his crimes and outlandish behaviour was exposed in the Netflix documentary Tiger King, was jailed for 22 years for animal abuse and murder for hire.

The former owner of the Great Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in the US was jailed after hiring a hit man to murder Carole Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue, who was campaigning to have the zoo shut down over animal cruelty fears.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, in a mugshot.
Tiger King Joe Exotic is expecting a pardon from Donald Trump. Source: AP

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is reportedly expecting to be pardoned by Trump during his last day as President of the United States.

CBS reporter Ken Molestina has tweeted an image of a giant stretch limo on standby as Exotic awaits news he will be freed from prison.

“This is the stretch limo standing by at Joe Exotic’s Fort Worth Lawyers office,” Molestina said.

“I’m told they’re waiting on a call from the White House confirming the presidential pardon before heading to pick him up at the prison.”

Private investigator and Exotic’s head lawyer, Eric Love, told Metro.co.uk the first thing Exotic wanted if he was freed was to have his hair cut.

“This time tomorrow, we’re going to be celebrating,” Mr Love told the publication.

“We have good reason to believe it will come through.

“We’re confident enough we already have a limousine parked about half a mile from the prison. We are really in action mode now.

“I’ve got make-up, wardrobe, the whole unit that will come up. The first thing Joe wants to do, he wants his hair done.”

Mr Love said granting clemency to Exotic, who was apprehended in 2018, would take away from President-elect Joe Biden’s limelight.

Trump to issue 100 pardons on final day

As January 20 marks Trump’s final day in the White House, sources reveal he will use the remainder of his time to issue around 100 pardons and commutations.

Trump is likely to grant clemency to rapper Lil Wayne in a final wave of pardons and commutations that is not expected to include lawyer Rudy Giuliani or ex-aide Steve Bannon.

Two sources familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump appeared to have been dissuaded from pardoning himself or members of his family.

Lil Wayne pleaded guilty last month to possessing a loaded, gold-plated handgun when his chartered jet landed in Miami in December 2019. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison at a January 28 hearing in Miami.

Lil Wayne appeared to support Trump during last year's presidential campaign when he tweeted a photo of himself with the president and said he backed Trump's criminal justice reform program and economic plan for African Americans.

The sources confirmed in a New York Times report that the list of pardons and commutations is expected to include former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, 76, who was convicted of corruption charges in 2015.

Donald Trump speaks to reporters.
Donald Trump is expected to issue 100 pardons during his last day in the White House. Source: Getty

Trump's list is not expected to include Giuliani, the Trump private lawyer who has been a vocal proponent of the president's claims of voter fraud in the November 3 presidential election won by Biden.

The sources also said a pardon was not expected for Bannon, who helped Trump win the 2016 election and was a senior White House adviser.

Bannon, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded people who donated to "We Build the Wall", an online fundraising campaign that raised US$25 million.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, was also not expected to get a pardon, the sources said.

with Reuters

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