There was a stretch limousine idling in a Texas parking lot Tuesday night as “Tiger King” star Joe Exotic sat in prison hoping for a last-minute pardon from President Trump, according to local reports.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was so confident that he’d receive a presidential reprieve that he booked the limo in anticipation, the Dallas-Fort Worth-based Fox 4 reported.
The station’s news helicopter spotted the limo in his lawyer’s parking lot in Fort Worth.
Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot that targeted his chief rival, Carole Baskin.
Eric Love, a private investigator working on the case, said in an interview with Metro Monday that Maldonado-Passage’s team expected to receive a pardon and “be celebrating” soon. Also on hand, according to Love, was a hairstylist and makeup artist, so the former Tiger King could spruce up before getting some fast food.
The defense team has been lobbying for a presidential pardon for months.
“If I have ever looked up to anyone it would be you,” Maldonado-Passage wrote in a letter to the president in September. “Not because I need you to save my life but because you stand for what you believe no matter what anyone thinks.”
Fox News reported Monday that Trump was considering between 50 and 100 last-minute commutations or pardons, according to two sources familiar with the situation. They were expected to be issued Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.
Another figure who may receive leniency is the rapper, Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to a handgun charge.
A pardon for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was arrested on fraud charges over the summer, was described as being “TBD,” or to be determined.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is facing 18 espionage charges and looking at a maximum of 175 years in prison, is reportedly not on the president’s list.
Nor is Trump expected to issue preemptive pardons to his adult children or for himself.
Alice Marie Johnson, a recipient of a Trump pardon herself for a life sentence on a federal drug charge, called on the president to use his last-minute pardon power on nonviolent drug offenders in a recent interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.
Fox News’ Kristin Fisher and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.