First, a federal judge yesterday scathingly advocated tossing out the March 17 initiated legal action by the former owner of Oklahoma’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Then today another judge rejected the currently incarcerated Exotic’s attempt to force a recusal in the civil matter.
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All in all, even with Netflix claiming Tiger King snared 34 million unique viewers in the days after its March 20 launch, a bad week on the legal front for the self-representing Exotic, who is presently also engaged in an appeal of his criminal case.
As fans of the Rebecca Chaikin and Eric Goode directed Tiger King know, big cat collector Exotic (AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage) was sentenced in January to 22 years in prison for hiring a hitman for $3,000 to unsuccessfully kill the long-time thorn in his paw Carole Baskin, actually killing five tiger cubs which was a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The 2016 independent Presidential candidate was also charged by the feds with falsifying wildlife records.
All of which by the way, he denies and, as Exotic alleges in his now hobbled civil case, was part of an “entrapment scheme” and “malicious prosecution to further and (sic) animal rights agenda.” Never one to resist the big game, so to speak, Exotic wants “$73,840,000.00 in damages and an additional $15,000,000.00 for false arrest, false imprisonment, discrimination, malicious prosecution, selective enforcement, misinterpreting the law and the death of Shirley Schreibvogel (his mother),” notes U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell in her April 7 report and recommendation (READ IT HERE)
A recommendation that is pretty straightforward when it comes to Exotic’s civil case.
“Because Plaintiff challenges the validity of his prosecution and conviction, the undersigned recommends dismissal,” Judge Mitchell writes of the sometimes “frivolous” action against the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service, the United States Department of Interior, and his ex-business partner Jeff Lowe – who recently leaked that Netflix will have more Tiger King soon. Noting that Exotic has no lawyer and his complaint was full of a “failure to cite proper legal authority, his confusion of various legal theories, his poor syntax and sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity with pleading requirements,” Judge Mitchell of the Western District of the Sooner State gives the Tiger King star the advice that he like other prisoners “file the case as a habeas corpus.”
Noting there are several more defendants named by Exotic, Mitchell also says all claims against Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Leigh Maxfield Green, Federal Wildlife Agent Matthew Bryant and the respective federal agencies cited should also be axed from the lawsuit too – which she states repeatedly should be dismissed overall anyway.
Set to take Judge Mitchell’s report and recommendation and make a final decision eventually, U.S. District Judge Scott Palk today rejected Exotic’s desire to see the judicial figure recuse himself from the civil case.
“The undersigned has presided over civil cases in this judicial district to which Plaintiff is a party,” Judge Palk wrote Wednesday in a short order (READ IT HERE). “The undersigned has also presided over a criminal case resulting in Plaintiff’s recent conviction and sentence on multiple federal offenses. After judgment was entered in Plaintiff’s criminal proceedings, he filed this action …alleging violations of his federal constitutional rights. Plaintiff’s …claims arise out of and are related to his criminal conviction.”
Then Palk gets to the guts of it.
“In sum, the undersigned has carefully reviewed the grounds upon which Plaintiff
seeks recusal and finds those grounds are insufficient to warrant the requested relief,” the Donald Trump appointed judge states. “There is no objective basis upon which to find judicial bias or lack of impartiality,” Palk adds. “It is therefore ordered that Plaintiff’s Motion to Recuse is denied.”
All of which means we could see another type of Tiger King sequel coming in the courts, one way or another – to quote one of Exotic’s less bugged out songs “Bring it on.”
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