Tiger King Joe Exotic loses appeal, given new 21-year jail term

Joe Exotic, the jailed former private zoo owner who shot to fame as the star of the Tiger King series, failed to convince a US judge to release him.

In this file photo taken on 20 January 2020 this undated photo courtesy of Netflix shows Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage with one of his tigers. The US Justice Department said 20 May 2021 that it had seized 68 lions, tigers and lion-tiger hybrids as well as a jaguar from the former animal park of Joe Exotic, the star of the Netflix hit 'Tiger King'. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - Joe Exotic, the jailed former private zoo owner who shot to fame as the star of the Tiger King series, on Friday failed to convince a US judge to release him and received a new sentence of 21 years for attempted murder.

Exotic, whose real name is Joe Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in prison for attempting to kill a rival animal refuge owner, Carole Baskin.

Owing to a procedural error, a federal court then ordered that the sentence be reduced. At a hearing in Oklahoma City to determine his new sentence, the 58-year-old impresario asked for a "second chance," local media reported on Friday.

"Please don't make me die in prison waiting for my freedom," pleaded Exotic, who suffers from prostate cancer.

Baskin had urged the judge to leave him behind bars, saying she still feared for her life.

The judge finally retained a sentence of 21 years of imprisonment, according to court documents.

The journey of the flamboyant zookeeper, who made a small fortune from his Oklahoma big-cat facility that opened in 1999 before losing everything in a series of convoluted schemes, fascinated millions of Americans isolated in their homes when the Netflix series first launched at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The series focused on Exotic's conflict with Baskin, an animal rights activist who accused him of mistreating his animals and vowed to force him to shut down his zoo.

Exotic ended up offering two henchmen thousands of dollars to kill Baskin, but one of them was an undercover FBI agent trying to trap him.

A new series, Tiger King 2, was released in November on the streaming platform and attracted large numbers of viewers.