AP NEWS

Animal rights attorney testifies for ‘Joe Exotic’ defense

March 30, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney for the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal was the first defense witness for a former Oklahoma zookeeper and gubernatorial candidate accused of trying to arrange the killing of a critic who ran an animal sanctuary in Florida.

PETA attorney Brittany Peet testified Friday in the murder-for-hire trial of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who is also known as “Joe Exotic.”

Peet said Maldonado-Passage told her he wanted out of the industry and to become a bartender in Central America as the defense seeks to show he was never serious about trying to arrange the death of Carole Baskin.

Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage offered $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent to kill Baskin, who had criticized Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of animals. Baskin was not harmed.

Maldonado-Passage faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted. The trial is to resume Monday.