Bombshell texts could lead to Tiger King's Joe Exotic's acquittal

EXCLUSIVE: Bombshell texts could lead to Joe Exotic’s acquittal, as messages cast doubt the Tiger King star gave ‘burner’ phone to hitman in murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin

  • Bombshell text messages unearthed by private investigators working to free jailed Joe Exotic could lead to his acquittal, DailyMailTV can reveal
  • The Tiger King star was jailed for 22 years in 2019 after being found guilty of plotting to kill his nemesis and fellow big cat lover Carole Baskin
  • Central to the prosecution’s case was $3,000 lawyers claim Exotic paid employee Allen Glover for the hit 
  • Also important was a pizza restaurant cell phone Exotic allegedly gave Glover so they could communicate
  • But in new evidence uncovered by ‘Team Tiger’ – a group working to free Exotic – it appears Exotic didn’t give Glover the cell phone, but in fact Glover stole it
  • In one of the newly-revealed text messages, obtained by DailyMailTV, Exotic wrote to his ex-business partner Jeff Lowe on December 5, 2017
  • He texted Lowe: ‘F**king Allen stole the pizza phone.’ Exotic has always claimed he never had the pizza phone
  • But during the trial, as a witness for the prosecution, Glover testified that Exotic gave him that specific phone as part of his murder instructions
  • One of Exotic’s close friends, filmmaker Theresa McKeown, has also thrown her support behind the animal rights activist
  • She believes the new cell phone evidence – which she was given access to – could be the ‘smoking gun’ that acquits him

Bombshell text messages unearthed by private investigators working to free jailed Tiger King star Joe Exotic could lead to his acquittal, DailyMailTV can reveal.

The messages cast serious doubt over prosecution claims that Exotic – real name Joe Maldonado-Passage – gave a ‘burner’ phone to alleged hitman Allen Glover in a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin.

And in an exclusive audio clip obtained by DailyMailTV, Exotic himself claims he never had the pizza phone in his possession and never gave it to Glover.

Exotic was jailed for 22 years after being found guilty of plotting to kill his nemesis and fellow big cat lover Baskin.

Central to the prosecution’s case was $3,000 lawyers claim Exotic paid Glover for the hit and a pizza restaurant cell phone he gave him so they could communicate.

But in critical new evidence uncovered by ‘Team Tiger’ – a group of investigators and lawyers working to free Exotic – it appears the animal trainer didn’t give Glover the cell phone, but in fact Glover stole it.

In one of the newly-revealed text messages, obtained by DailyMailTV, Exotic writes to his ex-business partner Jeff Lowe on December 5, 2017, saying: ‘F**king Allen stole the pizza phone.’

Bombshell text messages unearthed by private investigators working to free jailed Tiger King star Joe Exotic could lead to his acquittal, DailyMailTV can reveal


The messages cast serious doubt over prosecution claims that Exotic – real name Joe Maldonado-Passage – gave a ‘burner’ phone to alleged hitman Allen Glover (right) in a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin (left)

In one of the newly-revealed text messages, obtained by DailyMailTV, Exotic writes to his ex-business partner Jeff Lowe on December 5, 2017, saying: ‘F**king Allen stole the pizza phone’

Glover was Exotic’s zoo handyman at the time and a close friend of Lowe’s.

Federal prosecutors said in court that Exotic used the phone in question to help carry out his plans for murder, yet they failed to disclose at trial that these text messages ever existed.

Francisco Hernandez, a Fort Worth, Texas based attorney and lead counsel for ‘Team Tiger’ told DailyMailTV the new evidence could be crucial.

‘In the end, you got a little guy who got convicted because he dared to go to trial, and dared to get up on the stand,’ Hernandez said.

‘But this is clearly a failure on the government’s duty to do justice. They were going to win no matter what. I assure you, if they got a not guilty [verdict], they would have indicted on something else the very next day.

‘Joe was going to be convicted by the federal government come hell or high water.’

Exotic has always claimed he never had the pizza phone, but during the 2019 trial, as a witness for the prosecution, Glover testified that Exotic gave him that specific phone as part of his murder instructions, as seen in these public court transcripts:

Q. All right. Okay. Let’s — the phone that he gave you, where did that come from?

A. It was a pizza restaurant phone. It belonged to the park.

Q. Did you say the pizza restaurant phone?

A. Yeah.

Q. Okay. And when he — when he gave you that phone, did he use it to give you any information he thought would help you?

A. Yes, ma’am, he did. He went back there to his desk, sat down and he flipped up on the computer a Big Cat Rescue, what she looked like, different pictures, different way she dresses and whatnot, so I wouldn’t kill the wrong person.

Q. Did he use the phone to — what did he — what did he do with the screen?

A. Just like that (indicating), took a picture of it and saved it on the phone.

Q. Okay. So at this point you — Joe had given you money and a new cell phone…

However, in additional text messages extracted during a mobile device forensic examination, it appears that Glover perjured himself on the stand.

In court federal prosecutors said Exotic hired Glover to kill Baskin in November of 2017.

But several extracted text exchanges on December 6, 2017 between Glover and his girlfriend Cheryl Ann contradict Glover’s testimony.

In another strange plot twist, Cheryl Ann was Joe’s mother-in-law when he was married to former husband Travis Maldonado, who later committed suicide.

In one message Cheryl Ann texts: ‘Oh and I know who’s phone you found. Grin I do believe it is AJs. (an employee of the zoo) Lol. Heard Joe talking to someone about it today. Then you will never guess who I ran into this evening when I went to get smokes. AJ. … Joe told her someone who used to live there took (the phone)… Before you even left (like when he still had it) lol. Anyhow AJ said she didn’t care if u had it. She just didn’t want Joe to have it.’

And Glover texts: ‘This phone I got AJ said it was hers that’s the f**king pizza restaurant phone Joe called me today asking who is this.’

In a document compiled by Team Tiger which displays a grid of the messages, Exotic’s handwriting can be seen down the side.

And in an exclusive audio clip obtained by DailyMailTV, Exotic himself claims he never had the pizza phone in his possession and never gave it to Glover. Exotic was jailed for 22 years after being found guilty of plotting to kill his nemesis and fellow big cat lover Baskin

In a document compiled by Team Tiger which displays a grid of the messages, Exotic’s handwriting can be seen down the side (pictured)

He writes: ‘Everyone sat there and let (Glover) lie, even my lawyers.’

And in exclusive audio of a phone conversation, recorded this summer by his friend and power of attorney, Anne Patrick, you can hear Exotic himself repeat his claim that he never had the pizza phone in his possession, which the text messages from Glover bear out.

In the phone call Patrick is heard saying: ‘Hey, on one of your text messages, right…? It says…it says something about, ‘Allen stole the pizza phone’. Is that the f**king phone that they’re talking about?

Exotic replies: ‘Yes, and the actual text messages on Allen’s phone. He talked to Cheryl, my mother-in-law, and tells her he stole it, uh, they stole the phone and didn’t let me know. And the prosecutors had that in court. They just let them lie.’

Hernandez says the text messages, combined with the phone revelations, could change the whole case against Exotic.

‘The pizza phone evidence is pivotal in context,’ he said. ‘That in and of itself is a piece of the puzzle.’

Veteran private investigator Eric Love, also from Fort Worth, Texas, is responsible for assembling ‘Team Tiger,’ along with Hernandez and his legal partner Jeff Hoover.

With 20 years of experience in law enforcement, he says the team has set out to ‘right the wrong’ of Exotic’s conviction and claims they have proven the government targeted Exotic.

He too believes the bombshell text messages, while not the only piece of evidence they have, could prove 57-year-old Exotic’s innocence.

‘The text messages that we extracted from not only the cell phones, but from computers that were provided to us from Anne Patrick, the power of attorney for Joe, we know for a fact that these text messages prove Joe’s innocence,’ he said.

‘When you look at the text messages and look where they came from, look where they went to, look who sent them… the hitman said Joe gave him the phone – absolutely not. He stole it from the pizza place. It’s a stolen phone. The text messages that we’ve recovered are literally standing up and telling the truth.’

And in exclusive audio of a phone conversation, recorded this summer by his friend and power of attorney, Anne Patrick, you can hear Exotic himself repeat his claim that he never had the pizza phone in his possession, which the text messages from Glover bear out

In the phone call Patrick is heard saying: ‘Hey, on one of your text messages, right…? It says…it says something about, ‘Allen stole the pizza phone’. Is that the f**king phone that they’re talking about?’

Love, who is the lead investigator and executive manager for ‘Team Tiger’, says he first got involved in the case after his wife urged him to watch the Tiger King documentary series and his daughter remembered going to Joe Exotic’s zoo in Oklahoma and meeting the animal rights activist.

‘I have a daughter [who is] in college in Louisiana, and she had made it a point to tell me that that was a zoo that she went to with some girlfriends and said that Joe was just so nice. ‘Hey dad that might be a good case for you’, she said.

‘So, I wrote Joe a letter and told him that I could assemble a team of lawyers right here in Fort Worth that would take the case and we would be his advocate on the ground at no cost.

‘And the most important part of this is he is now housed here in Fort Worth.’

Together, he says Team Tiger is confident they can get Exotic out of prison, with a presidential pardon.

‘It’s an absolute disgusting case that was perpetrated against poor Joe and we’re in it to win it. I truly believe in my heart we’re going to get the pardon because I believe President Donald Trump understands when someone’s targeted.

‘Joe was targeted and we’re able to prove that in the 257-page presidential pardon request that we delivered September 10th, to a White House surrogate.

‘So, I’m in it until it’s over. Our team is committed until the finality of the Senate or the commutation or the pardon.’

One of Exotic’s close friends, filmmaker Theresa McKeown, has also thrown her support behind the animal rights activist.

She believes the new cell phone evidence – which she was given access to – could be the ‘smoking gun’ that acquits him.

She has known Exotic for six years and has been a constant support for him, speaking to him for hours on the phone while he was in jail and the pair regularly exchange emails now he’s in the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth prison.

One of Exotic’s close friends, filmmaker Theresa McKeown (pictured with Exotic), has also thrown her support behind the animal rights activist. She believes the new cell phone evidence – which she was given access to – could be the ‘smoking gun’ that acquits him. She has known Exotic for six years and has been a constant support for him, speaking to him for hours on the phone while he was in jail and the pair regularly exchange emails now he’s in the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth prison

McKeown says it was during her interviews with Exotic’s best friend Anne Patrick, that she discovered the significant new evidence, including the screenshot of Exotic’s text to Jeff Lowe, and the phone conversation between Patrick and Exotic

‘I originally met Joe in 2014 trying to do a reality show that never went anywhere,’ she explains.

‘He got arrested, we reconnected. I wrote him a letter in jail. We spoke on the phone constantly the whole time he was in jail, up to the trial.

‘After the trial he cried to me on the phone several times. I was watching very closely what was going on and then he moved to the prison. Now we email all the time.

‘I truly believe in my heart that he is an innocent man and that he was wrongly convicted. In my opinion, he was railroaded, he was set up and he’s not guilty of murder-for-hire.’

As one of the executive producers of the recent Discovery ID special ‘Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-up,’ McKeown joined forces with Team Tiger to lay out inconsistencies in the case.

‘There were a lot of very fishy things that happened during that first trial,’ she said.

‘When we were doing the research for our discovery ID show, we came across a lot of new information,’ she says.

‘We had a PI that was looking into the case, everything we gathered, we brought to Joe’s attorneys.’

McKeown says it was during her interviews with Exotic’s best friend Anne Patrick, that she discovered the significant new evidence, including the screenshot of Exotic’s text to Jeff Lowe, and the phone conversation between Patrick and Exotic.

‘What is clear is that Joe knew nothing about this phone,’ she said.

McKeown also followed up with Exotic, who has always denied giving Glover the pizza phone.

‘That cell phone that Allen Glover testified he was given by Joe was a pivotal part of the court proceedings,’ she said.

‘Joe told me that when the jury heard that he had given the alleged hitman a cell phone and $3,000 to go to Florida to murder Carole Baskin, that was kind of what convicted him, at least in his mind.’

In another shocking claim, investigator Love says his team has discovered that Exotic’s business partner Jeff Lowe knew his nemesis Carole Baskin before he arrived at Exotic’s zoo.

‘Our theory is this, Joe was getting way too close with finding out information about Don Lewis’ death,’ he explained. Don Lewis is Carole Baskin’s ex-husband who went missing without a trace in 1997. 

‘We now know that Carole and Jeff knew each other prior to ever coming to the G.W. Zoo.

‘When you take a hitman like Allen Glover, the supposed hitman, that was Jeff’s Lowe’s right-hand man.

‘Why would Joe ever use someone that he didn’t completely trust. The text messages, all the stuff that was pulled from the phone, that literally points straight to Joe’s innocence. It proves that he didn’t do anything wrong.

‘Why didn’t the state pull that? Because he was targeted. President Trump knows that people get targeted. Joe was targeted for many, many reasons.’

Love says his team has also investigated jury suppression and evidence suppression in the case. He also slams the prosecution and accuses them of feeding a script to ‘hitman’ Glover and businessman Jeff Lowe (pictured)

In another shocking claim, investigator Love says his team has discovered that Exotic’s business partner Jeff Lowe knew his nemesis Carole Baskin before he arrived at Exotic’s zoo. ‘Our theory is this, Joe was getting way too close with finding out information about Don Lewis’ (pictured)  death,’ he explained

Love says his team has also investigated jury suppression and evidence suppression in the case.

He also slams the prosecution and accuses them of feeding a script to ‘hitman’ Glover and businessman Jeff Lowe.

‘They rehearsed what they were going to say so it would execute perfectly in court,’ he explained.

‘They rehearsed it with the prosecution.

‘What makes the text messages so important? If the government really wanted the truth, they have access [to the text messages] just like we do, right? If I need something, I’m going to subpoena it or I’m going to gain access to it, then it’s going to cost me money to process it.

‘If the government would have done what we’d done, Joe would not be in this position. Joe wouldn’t be convicted.’

Team Tiger is confident Exotic will get a presidential pardon, but should that fail, they are gathering evidence for an appeal against his conviction.

Attorney Hernandez says they won’t stop until Joe Exotic is released from his cage…no matter how long it takes.

‘My commitment is a 22-year commitment. I’m on Joe’s case, even if we have to serve all 22 years, I will not give up,’ he said.

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