Joseph Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence in Oklahoma

By Natalie Stone
April 01, 2020 04:32 PM
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Tiger King star Joseph Maldonado-Passage is keeping his distance from other prisoners while he serves his 22-year sentence amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking with Andy Cohen on the SiriusXM Radio Andy show on Wednesday, Maldonado-Passage’s husband Dillon Passage shared that the former zoo owner — known as Joe Exotic — has been placed “on a COVID-19 isolation” behind bars.

“We speak like three to five times every day, but since he’s been moved to this new facility, they are putting him on a COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at, there were cases,” Dillon said about Joe, 57. “I’ve yet to speak to him since he moved.”

When Cohen asked if Joe “is in his own COVID-19 quarantine,” Dillon said that he is.

“From what I know, yes,” Dillon said. “From what he told me.”

Dillon Passage and Joseph Maldonado-Passage
Joe Exotic/Instagram

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness examines the life and crimes of Joe, a former country musician, Oklahoma zookeeper, gun enthusiast and big-cat keeper. Joe owned an exotic animal park and boasted of having the largest number of big cats in America. He was found guilty in 2019 for paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Carole Baskin, a big cat conservationist whom he considered his rival.

Joe — who alleges in the Netflix series Baskin killed her 60-year-old husband, Jack “Don” Lewis, and disposed of his remains by feeding them to her tigers and lions — is now serving 22 years in prison for the attempted murder plot. (She flatly denies the accusation about her husband and has never been charged.)

He has also filed a federal lawsuit against various government agencies, as well as ex-business partner Jeff Lowe.

In his complaint, he is seeking $94 million in damages. According to the lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE, Joe claimed $73,840,000 is for loss of personal property; 18 years of research; and care of 200 generic tigers and cross-breeds for 365 days a year, at a boarding rate of $60/day per animal.

Jospeh Maldonado-Passage

The additional $15 million is for false arrest, false imprisonment, selective enforcement and the death of his mother, Shirley.

The lawsuit, which was filed against the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and government agents, accuses them of violating his civil rights.

In the documents, he also accused Lowe of filing false statements to federal agents. “He was the main person in this entrapment scheme to take my zoo for free,” Joe alleged. “Changed my medicine with illegal drugs, stole my animals under fraudulent reasons.”

Currently, Joe — who was also found guilty of killing tigers to make room for more big cats at his exotic animal park — is in in the Grady County Jail in Oklahoma.

Although Joe has been ordered to serve more than two decades behind bars, Dillon is remaining by his husband’s side.

“I do love Joe,” Dillon told Cohen on the Radio Andy show. “He’s been with my through my darkest times, and I’m not going to just dip out and abandon him when he needs me most.”

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