Joe Exotic is going right to the top in his bid to undo his criminal conviction for attempting to kill his archrival ... he's going right to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to ask for a pardon.
Sources connected to the 'Tiger King' star tell TMZ, Joe's legal team out of Ft. Worth, Texas is preparing a case file that will be sent on to Trump, claiming Joe was wrongly convicted for the murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin.
They wrapped a big bus and plan to roll out the big announcement in a few days, but the endgame is clear ... get Joe out of prison.
There are interesting grounds for a pardon. For starters, Joe told everyone who would listen that he wanted Carol dead and even suggested to various people -- some he hardly knew -- that he'd pay as much as $50,000 to have Carol murdered.
Typically, people who seriously hire people to kill people don't tell everyone who would listen that they're marketing a murder plot.
What's more ... the alleged hitman, Allen Glover, was the star witness at Joe's trial, because he's the only one who took money from Joe. Glover says Joe gave him $3k for the hit ... Joe says it was to get Allen the hell out of the zoo.
We interviewed Glover for our TMZ Fox special a few weeks ago, and he made it clear ... this was "payback" and Glover says Joe caused so much misery to people and animals, he wishes he could have done more to hurt him. That's what you call a biased witness, and if the jury heard that they may have discounted his testimony.
And, there's even more ... the prosecutor in the case also charged Joe with killing tigers. His lawyers feel it was done just to dirty Joe up, to make the jury hate him, so they would convict him of ordering the hit on Carol.
As you know ... Trump actually talked about Joe and 'Tiger King' at one of the coronavirus briefings and joked about a pardon. Nothing's a joke anymore in these times.