The former Oklahoma zookeeper known as Tiger King, who gained fame in a Netflix documentary series, has been transferred to a medical facility for federal inmates after a cancer diagnosis, according to his lawyer.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was flown by plane to be transferred from a federal medical centre in the US state of Texas, to a federal medical centre in North Carolina, late on Tuesday or early Wednesday, defence lawyer John Phillips said in a statement.
Mr Phillips, who tweeted his statement on Saturday, said the transfer had originally been scheduled for later this month.
Mr Phillips said Maldonado-Passage had told him that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was getting medical treatment and tests “for a host of issues”.
The lawyer said prison medical care “isn’t the best and justice is slow”.
“It’s a competition of life and liberty no-one wants any part of,” he added.
In July, a federal appeals court ruled that Maldonado-Passage should get a shorter prison sentence for his role in a murder-for-hire plot and violating federal wildlife laws.
He was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill Florida animal rights activist Carole Baskin.
A three-judge panel of the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found that the trial court wrongly treated these two convictions separately in calculating his prison term under sentencing guidelines.
The appeals court panel said his advisory sentencing range should be between 17-and-a-half years and just under 22 years rather than between just under 22 years and 27 years in prison, as the trial court had calculated.
Maldonado-Passage and his blond mullet were featured in the Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
Meanwhile, Ms Baskin, of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue sanctuary, lost an effort to stop Netflix and a production company from using previously recorded video of her and her husband in the Tiger King sequel.
A federal magistrate judge issued a recommendation on Friday denying the Baskins’ bid to block use of the footage.