OKLAHOMA CITY – A jury is deliberating a verdict in the federal trial of an ex-Oklahoma zookeeper and former candidate for governor accused in an attempted murder-for-hire plot.
Jurors began deliberating Tuesday in the trial of 56-year-old Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, who’s accused of trying to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin , founder of a Florida animal sanctuary who criticized his treatment of animals. Baskin wasn’t harmed.
He’s also accused of killing five tigers in October 2017 and selling and offering to sell tiger cubs.
Maldonado-Passage, known as “Joe Exotic,” has pleaded not guilty and testified Monday that although disagreements with Baskin spilled over into his social media posts, he never wanted her dead.
Maldonado-Passage used to operate a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. He ran unsuccessfully for Oklahoma governor last year as a Libertarian.