Tiger King’s Joe Exotic (Joseph Maldonado-Passage), currently serving 22 years in prison, filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against his former business partner, Jeff Lowe, and multiple government agencies, including the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Interior.
Others mentioned as defendants in the lawsuit include James Garrettson, Daniel Ashe, and Allen Glover, according to The Blast.
Joe Exotic’s lawsuit alleges false imprisonment
Jeff Exotic’s lawsuit alleges that the defendants conspired to falsely arrest and imprison him for offenses he claims he did not commit.
He said they violated his civil rights through selective enforcement, discrimination, false imprisonment, false arrest, perjury, and entrapment, according to The Blast.
Joe Exotic is serving 22 years
He was convicted after being accused of offering $3,000 to an undercover FBI agent to murder Carole Baskin.
Baskin is an animal activist and the founder of Big Cat Rescue. She filed and won a $1 million trademark infringement lawsuit against Joe Exotic in 2013.
Joe Exotic was also convicted of violations of wildlife protection laws, including nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act and eight counts of falsifying records, violating the Lacey Act.
Joe claims he is a victim of a conspiracy
Joe Exotic alleges in his lawsuit that he was a victim of a conspiracy involving the federal agencies to put him out of business and imprison him to promote “an animal rights agenda.”
He alleges that the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conspired to falsely implicate him of violations of wildlife laws through false statements, false arrests, entrapment, and false imprisonment.
According to Joe Exotic, the actions of the agencies caused him to lose property and investments made over many years.
He also claims that he was the only person targeted because he is “openly gay” and has the “largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds.”
He is seeking damages of $78.84 million for the losses he suffered as a result of the action of the federal agencies, according to TMZ.
Joe is also suing Jeff Lowe
Before Joe Exotic went to prison, he sold his private big cat zoo, Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Oklahoma, to Jeff Lowe, who changed the name of the zoo to Greater Wynnewood Animal Park.
Now he is accusing Jeff Lowe of lying to federal agents and helping to plant evidence to convict him.
He also accuses one of the defendants, James Garretson, of acting as an informant. Lowe reportedly offered Garretson $100,000 to help make sure that Joe Exotic sold the zoo to Baskin.
According to Joe, the stress and strain caused by the defendants’ actions contributed to the death of his mother, Shirley.
Joe Exotic is seeking additional damages of $15 million for his losses, according to TMZ.More: Joe Exotic, Tiger King