AP NEWS

FBI agent tells of plot details in ‘Joe Exotic’ trial

March 29, 2019
FILE - This file photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic, tried to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue. Lurors were shown a Facebook video Tuesday, March 26, 2019, that depicts Maldonado-Passage shooting a blow-up "Carole" doll in the head. Other videos show him pretending to dig a grave for Baskin and threatening to mail her rattlesnakes. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma zookeeper accused of trying to arrange the killing of a critic who ran an animal sanctuary talked about using a public stop on his gubernatorial campaign to create an alibi.

That’s according to a 47-minute recording played for jurors Thursday in the murder-for-hire trial of Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Also known as “Joe Exotic,” the zookeeper ran as a Libertarian for governor last year.

Prosecutors accuse him of trying to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, who had criticized Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of animals. Baskin was not harmed.

Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin, and the conversation was recorded. Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys say their client wasn’t being serious.

The Oklahoman reports jurors could begin deliberating Monday. Maldonado-Passage faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted.