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Oklahoma governor candidate’s murder-for-hire trial delayed

January 8, 2019
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FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado answers a question during an interview at the zoo he then ran in Wynnewood, Okla. Maldonado, accused in a murder-for-hire plot, is set for trial in federal court Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The attempted murder-for-hire trial of an ex-Oklahoma zookeeper and one-time Libertarian candidate for governor has been postponed.

Court documents filed Dec. 21 show a federal judge agreed to a defense request for more time to prepare and rescheduled the trial of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who goes by “Joe Exotic,” until March 12. Maldonado-Passage is charged with trying to hire someone to kill the operator of a Florida-based animal sanctuary.

He pleaded not guilty and has a pending motion to dismiss the charge.

Maldonado-Passage also faces charges of killing tigers and selling cubs in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Maldonado-Passage once operated a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, and ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian nomination for Oklahoma governor last year.

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