Early Friday morning (November 9), WNBA Star Brittney Griner returned to the United States after spending nearly 10 months in the brutal conditions of a Russian penal colony. Her release was secured via a prisoner swap, in which Russia received notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner’s return.
Though relief at the release of Brittney Griner was unanimous. Many, however, also criticized the deal for its exclusion of former Marine Paul Whelan, who’s been jailed in Russia for nearly four years. Among those critics was Joe Exotic, who feels that his own release should be on the horizon, claiming he’s been “wrongfully detained” since 2019.
“The whole Brittney Griner and Trevor Reed prisoner swap is a slap in every American’s face that is wrongfully detained in the American Federal Prison System, including myself,” he said in an audio clip obtained by TMZ.
“Carole Baskin got her big cat safety act passed, now called the Tiger King bill. A dangerous man was released for Brittney Griner to be free. It’s time Joe Exotic gets to go home for Christmas to be with [boyfriend] Seth and his son for the first time in five Christmases.”
Joe Exotic Claims Innocence in the Face of 22-Year Prison Sentence
Joe Exotic was jailed in 2019 for crimes against wildlife and a murder-for-hire plot against animal rights activist Carole Baskin. Exotic, however, has always vehemently denied both charges, claiming that he never treated his animals badly or allowed the feud between himself and Baskin to escalate to such incredible heights.
In his plea to President Biden, he reiterated these claims, once again asserting his innocence. “The evidence that I’m innocent is there,” he said. “The Tiger Law has passed. I’m never owning animals again. That is all this was about. President Biden, if you won’t give me a pardon, keep your conviction and give me time served. Let me have my life back. You know this is wrong. Show America that you stand for the truth and justice before Christmas.”
“President Trump‘s administration allowed the justice system to destroy my life to make a movie and pass a law. It’s time to put an end to this,” Exotic continued. “You can make this right, for me and for the entire world that supports me. Please allow me to go home.”
In November of 2021, Joe Exotic was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He’s now in remission but suffering from common variable immunodeficiency as a result of the chemotherapy treatments. “Well my cancer is in remission which is good,” Exotic wrote on Twitter. “But with me having ‘CVID’ not Covid-19 we can’t get my bladder to heal or prostate from all the radiation.”