Joe Exotic Legal Team Produces Video for Trump ... He's a Victim, Not a Criminal!!!

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FREE THE KING

Joe Exotic does everything big, and clearly so does his new, massive legal team, that has produced a Texas-style video asking President Trump for a pardon, saying Joe is not only NOT GUILTY of putting a hit out on Carole Baskin, but he was actually FRAMED.

The video was shot and produced in Ft. Worth, and it features the bus TMZ showed you a few days ago that is wrapped in a plea to spring Joe from the prison, where we're told 1/3 of the inmates now have coronavirus.

The team is led by a super colorful figure -- Eric Love, a P.I. who is now the Lead Investigator and Executive Manager for all things Exotic.

The video makes it clear ... the legal team will attack on all fronts. They are appealing Joe's conviction and asking Trump for a pardon. They're also pursuing a malicious prosecution lawsuit against a bunch of folks involved in the criminal trial.

As we previously reported, there's evidence the alleged hitman had an ax to grind ... he told us his testimony against Joe was "payback" and he wishes he could have done more to hurt Joe. Those are markers of a biased witness.

There's also this ... the prosecutor in the case chose to throw in allegations Joe killed tigers. A lot of people think the prosecution's murder-for-hire case was weak, and the prosecutor threw in tiger-killing allegations just to dirty Joe up so the jury would hate him. Joe's legal team thinks that's a reversible error, as well as unethical.

We're guessing it's only a matter of time before that bus rolls up to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

David Harbour & Lily Allen Spark Engagement Rumors ... Is That A Ring?!?

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Lily Allen seems like she's officially off the market ... because it looks like she's engaged to David Harbour, and she's got the rock to prove it.

Lily stoked engagement rumors once again Thursday, posting a sultry snap to her social media and bragging about her physique ... but a closer look reveals what appears to be an engagement ring, and yes it's on THAT finger.

One of Lily's 1.2 million eagle-eyed Instagram followers straight-up asked her in the comments if she's indeed wearing an engagement ring, and Lily's answer was telling ... she replied, "First rule of engagement club...."

So, there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth.

The Grammy-nominated singer and "Stranger Things" star are notoriously private about their relationship ... the couple only officially announced they were an item earlier this year after months of dating.

We reached out to reps for both Lily and David to confirm their engagement ... so far, no word back.

But, Lily's picture and comment kinda speak for themselves.

Joe Exotic Zoo Sees New Life After 'Tiger King' ... Huge Crowd For Reopening

Joe Exotic woulda loved to see this ... his beloved zoo is packed to the gills, as hundreds flocked to his old stomping grounds for the first time since 'Tiger King' dropped.

A huge crowd was on hand this weekend at the zoo once owned by Joe ... it's now called Tiger King Park, and it's finally cashing in on Joe's Netflix notoriety and recent injection of fame.

There was a long line to get inside the zoo in Wynnewood, OK after it reopened under new CDC social distancing and sanitation protocols. The zoo had been shuttered by coronavirus restrictions and seems like people were ready to pounce when it opened back up.

Folks who were there tell us people and families came from all over the country to see what the hype was about ... and there were hundreds of new visitors.

Once inside the zoo, formerly known as G.W. Exotic Animal Park, most folks seemed to cast social distancing rules to the wayside ... face coverings were few and far between, and people crammed together to see the big attractions -- lions and tigers.

KINGDOM GROWS
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As you can see ... Tiger cub petting was in full effect, and people sat shoulder-to-shoulder as they patiently waited for a chance to play with the cubs and meet zookeeper Erik Cowie.

While Joe's no doubt the reason the zoo is buzzing again coming off his 'Tiger King' fame ... the long lines and crowds lined the pockets of the new owner and Joe's former business partner, Jeff Lowe.

Jeff and his wife, Lauren, greeted people as they walked around, and fans also got a chance to meet alleged hitman Allen Glover, the star witness at Joe's trial.

Sorry, Carol Baskin ... people still wanna see Joe's tigers.

Joe Exotic Hey Prez, Seriously, Pardon Me

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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.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

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.

PAYBACK'S A BITCH
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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.

EXOTIC PARDON
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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.

Carole Baskin Responds to Prank Interview ... She's Actually a Good Sport

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8:41 AM PT -- 5/4 -- Carole Baskin has responded to the fake interview she was duped into giving by a couple of YouTubers -- and she's actually taking the whole thing in stride with a good attitude.

She tells TMZ ... "I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped. But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank." Carole goes on to say, "It gave us a very welcome good laugh. I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don't feel was in any way mean spirited."

If anything, this sounds like she's totally cool with chatting ... just so long as ya don't bring up her disappeared husband, Don. That's the apparent rule. Duly noted, CB.

Carole Baskin has been impossible to get a hold of for an interview in the wake of 'Tiger King' -- but two clever Brits got her to open her yap ... under incredibly false pretenses.

The two dudes are Archie Manners and Josh Pieters, who are two YouTube pranksters who go around tricking celebs into giving phony interviews with what the duped believe to be late-night talk show hosts. They've had a lot of success ... now, they wanted Carole.

Check out their in-depth video of how they pulled it off -- it's pretty freakin' elaborate (and hilarious). Long story very short ... they posed as producers for "The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon" and reached out to Carole via email for a possible Skype/Zoom interview.

At first, she shot them down ... citing the blanket policy Carole and her current hubby, Howard, have been giving just about everyone these days -- no interview, no dice. They also regurgitated the line that they believe Netflix falsely suggested and/or implied she had something to do with her first husband, Don's disappearance and presumed death.

The dudes kept at it though, insisting they would NOT talk about anything 'Tiger King'-related with Jimmy, and promised to keep the topic strictly on cats and her sanctuary.

You gotta watch the rest, 'cause the lady bought it and agreed to do it under those terms. As for how they got JF's voice on there, that's a thing of beauty too -- they pulled old audio clips of him interviewing other celebs and tossed 'em to her live during the interview.

It's literally the oldest trick in the book -- and kinda reminiscent of that famous "True Lies" scene -- but the greatest part ... CAROLE BASKIN FELL FOR IT!!! Hook, line and sinker.

Check out what she had to say about how she and Howard are dealing in quarantine, and how they're handling all her big cats. Oh yeah, they also got her to put on her flower crown.

Bow down to these viral geniuses ... we are not worthy!!!

Originally Published -- 5/3 2:41 PM PT

Real-Life Waco Survivor Hey, Netflix ... Let's Join Forces for a Docuseries!!!

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THERE'S MORE STORIES TO TELL
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David Thibodeau, a real-life survivor of the Waco siege, wants to thank Netflix for getting people talking about the tragedy again, and says now's the time to reveal some untold stories about it.

Thibodeau, who's played by actor Rory Culkin in the series, "Waco" tells TMZ ... he's incredibly grateful Netflix not only revived the show last month, but made it a huge hit.

ICYMI ... "Waco" originally aired in January 2018 on the fledgling Paramount Network. It got off to a strong start in the rating game but quickly faded.

Once it got on Netflix, though, it's remained in the platform's top 10. In short, the 2-year-old show -- about a 27-year-old siege -- is back in pop culture.

Thibodeau says Netflix's next step should be to order a docuseries on the 1993 catastrophe. As one of the few surviving members of the Branch Davidians ... he wants to speak out for the people he lost.

If you're under 35 ... the Waco siege was a 51-day standoff between Branch Davidians leader David Koresh and the FBI ... which believed the religious sect was illegally stockpiling weapons.

Thibodeau was among the group holed up in Koresh's compound and 1 of only 9 survivors, which inspired him to write the 1999 memoir "A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story."

The show was partly based on his book, and he was a consultant on it as well as an actor. He's down to consult again if a Waco docuseries gets the green light.

Your move, Netflix.

'Greenhouse Academy' Star Chris O'Neal Busted for Felony DUI, Hit and Run

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The star of Netflix's "Greenhouse Academy" has been arrested after he allegedly struck two cars, injuring one of the occupants, and then leaving the scene.

Chris O'Neal was driving in the San Fernando Valley at around 11 PM Friday when he struck 2 cars, injuring one of the people inside ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

Cops got 2 911 calls from different people, responded to the scene and saw tire tracks. They followed the tracks to a nearby front lawn where they found Chris' '94 Camaro with the actor inside, fully awake.

They gave him a field sobriety test and say he blew just over the legal limit.

Chris, who also starred in Nickelodeon's "How to Rock," "Swindle" and "You Gotta See This," was arrested for felony hit and run and felony DUI.

As for the person who was hurt in the crash ... we're told the injuries are minor.

O'Neal's rep, Blair M. Underwood, had no comment.

Joe Exotic My Sweet 'Revenge' ... Fashion Line Coming?!?

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Joe Exotic is still wheeling and dealing from behind bars ... TMZ has learned the 'Tiger King' is in talks to become the face of a new fashion line!!!

Odain Watson, the owner of the streetwear brand, Odaingerous, tells TMZ ... he wants to partner with Joe on a limited edition collection, and they're already hammering out details through prison phone calls and letters.

Odain says his company reached out to Joe in late March by letter, pitched him on being the face of its next collection ... and he was super intrigued.

The collection sounds pretty cool ... it's being dubbed "REVENGE" and Joe's line would include graphic T-shirts, hoodies and joggers with his face and, of course, tigers.

We're told it will also feature images related to Joe's plight. Y'know ... backstabbing, betrayal, fake friends, success and such.

And, the pièce de résistance -- an exclusive t-shirt with a 'Tiger King' biker jacket print on it. Complete with tiger-striped lapel. We know ... weird, but click through the gallery. You'll get it.

We're told the contract's close to be signed, but they're still negotiating profit sharing ... kind of a big outstanding deal point.

Problem is, the novel coronavirus is throwing a wrench in the plans ... we're told legal mail and communication are stalled at FMC Fort Worth. Remember, Joe's prison is the second leading hotbed for COVID-19 in the federal prison system.

Sorry, folks ... no word on pink sequin shirts making the 'Revenge' tour. Yet.

Baskin-Robbins Carole Baskin Sign Didn't Kill Biz ... Serving Double Da Scoops!!!

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Cutting ties with Carole Baskin didn't necessarily work out for her ex-husband or Joe Exotic -- but a Baskin-Robbins shop is cashing in by doing exactly that.

Peggy Heldstab, owner of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Junction City, Kansas, tells TMZ ... it was her son's idea to slap the "No Relation to Carole Baskin" sign on her store's marquee sign. She says her son and his wife saw the popular Netflix documentary 'Tiger King' and are huge fans ... hence the suggestion for the sign.

She says her son swore the sign would be especially appreciated right now with the popularity of the doc ... coupled with the thousands of memes, songs and dances that have sprung up, with most of them taking shots at Carole Baskin.

But get this ... Peggy says she had never heard of 'Tiger King,' but took her son's word for it because he insisted the sign would cheer people up. He wasn't lying. The sign's exploded all over social media, and that's translated extremely well for the cash register.

We're told Peggy put up the sign Sunday and that very same day sales doubled compared to the day before. What's more ... the shop drew tons of attention from fans driving by waving and honking in approval of the sign. Her son was right, and business (carry-out/DoorDash only) has been great ever since.

As most small business owners can relate, Peggy says she was worried about her business with stay-at-home orders, and business doesn't get any easier when it's trying to make up for any stalled business during the cold months. And, that's why the Carole Baskin sign couldn't have come at a better time.

As for corporate reaching out to her shop to give her its 2 cents ... Peggy says not a peep. She says she's able to make sign decisions independently. And, in case you're wondering ... Peggy says she's now a few episodes into 'Tiger King.'

Peggy says if Carole Baskin walked into her shop, she'd serve her ice cream. Maybe Peggy hasn't gotten to the end of 'Tiger King' yet. Give her time.

Netflix's 'Too Hot to Handle' Contestants' Poo Under Surveillance ... Camera On At All Times

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HOLLYWOOD RAW

Netflix's new reality show, ''Too Hot to Handle,'' was serious when they told their participants no pleasure whatsoever, because producers had eyes on them 24/7 ... even in the John.

Contestant Bryce Hirschberg talked to Dax Holt and Adam Glyn on the 'Hollywood Raw' podcast recently, and revealed yes, they were under surveillance at all times to ensure they wouldn't, y'know ... choke any poultry. Even while they were on the sh***er -- producers were watching on CCTV.

That might sound like an invasion of privacy -- we're sure the stars of the show signed up for it though -- but that's the point of the show ... hold back from "releasing" and take home six figures in the amount of $100,000. The twist -- you're surrounded by temptation.

There's a bunch of hot singles who get thrown into "paradise" ... but they have to refrain from sexual or intimate touching of any kind or risk losing out on the prize money.

Of course, you also can't masturbate -- something you could normally get away with in the secrecy of the bathroom. But, that's out the window with cameras rolling.

Hopefully, the prolonged non-enjoying was worth it for Bryce. He says he didn't earn a dime for appearing, but won a meager $7,500!!! You can hear the whole thing here.

Joe Exotic's Pink Sequin Shirt $10k eBay Bid a Ruse ... Seller Still Scores $4k!!!

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8:14 AM PT -- There's a happy ending for the seller after all -- he still managed to profit more than $4k on Joe's shirt.

Somebody just dropped $4,200 on the pink sequin top, and already paid Baran for it so there's no more shenanigans. All said and done, that's a 42x return on his investment. It's unclear what the new buyer plans to do with the shirt ... we can only imagine.

Joe Exotic uttered the famous line, "I am never gonna financially recover from this," on 'Tiger King' ... which is probably how the owner of one of Joe's flamboyant shirts feels after he got hoodwinked on eBay.

It was almost official -- the pink sequin button-up top Joe wore on episode 2 of the Netflix docuseries closed on the auction site Friday at $10,400 after receiving 43 bids from 21 bidders. The opening bid was $650 on April 12, but things really escalated in the final 2 days.

That probably should have been a red flag, as the shirt's seller, Vincent Baran, tells TMZ ... the winner of the auction claims he was hacked and not bidding himself, and will not be paying for the shirt.

Baran's still hoping to turn a big profit on the item, though ... he's now re-listed the piece of Exotic memorabilia at a buy-now price of $10,300 -- or best offer -- until May 17.

We broke the story ...  Vince told us he came across the Exotic artifact when he noticed Joe's old stomping grounds, The Greater Wynnewood (G.W.) Zoo, was selling several of his shirts on Facebook.

Baran says he managed to buy the pink shirt from Joe's ex-business partner -- Jeff Lowe, who now runs the zoo -- for just $100, and he was initially hoping to get $650 or more for it ... based on what some other Joe Exotic wardrobe items have sold for online.

So, cashing out at above $10k would have been an unprecedented new high -- that's enough to buy a few tigers cubs, after all -- and as the saying goes ... if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Good luck, Vince.

Originally Published -- 12:50 AM PT

Joe Exotic Tried Hard to Be 'Wolf King' in 2018 Before Getting Shut Down

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Before Joe Exotic was known to the world as the Tiger King, he desperately tried his hand at being a "Wolf King" ... but he got dethroned after a very short reign.

TMZ's learned Joe Exotic got his hands on 28 gray wolves back in early 2018 after a so-called "petting zoo" in Minneapolis was forced to give up the animals following an unfavorable ruling at trial over a lawsuit alleging it violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was behind that lawsuit ... and it didn't take long before the ALDF had Joe in its crosshairs. Christopher Berry, the ALDF attorney behind the lawsuit, tells TMZ ... he fired off a legal letter to Joe accusing him of also violating that law.

The letter accuses Joe of transporting the wolves from Minnesota to Oklahoma, which is one of the ESA violations because it's against federal law to transport protected animals across state lines without a permit.

The lawyer also accused Joe of trying to sell protected animals ... Berry pointed out the commercial sale of a protected animal violates federal law. Berry also alleged Joe tried to sell at least 4 wolf pups on social media.

And, get this ... Berry offered to resolve the issue amicably, but Joe wasn't having it. Berry tells us a few days after Joe received the letter, Joe was pissed off to the point he called Berry and chewed him out in a profanity-laced rant ... denying he broke any laws.

We're told, Joe ultimately admitted trying to get a handle on wolves proved way more challenging than he anticipated. One example ... the wolves often clawed out of their enclosures and ran amok at Joe's G.W. Exotic Animal Park.

Berry says Joe ultimately turned the wolves over to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center ... an animal protection org. in Ventura, CA. After complying with Berry's letter, we're told the ALDF took no further legal action against Joe.

As for how Joe's facility got selected to receive the wolves ... we're told the Minnesota petting zoo was desperate to find the wolves new homes, but irresponsibly sent 28 of the as many as 60 wolves to Joe, who clearly was not equipped to care for them.

But, just when ya think there's a happy ending ... think again. Berry says only 25 of the 28 wolves at Joe's facility were transferred to Lockwood. He says one of the wolves died from an infection at Joe's park. As for the two remaining wolves ... they went MIA and no one ever figured out what happened to them.

Then again, Joe Exotic's been accused of heinous acts against animals.

UFC's Tyron Woodley Wants 3 Fight In 3 Weeks ... Rematch w/ Usman

May 9. May 16. May 23.

UFC star Tyron Woodley says he's ALL THE WAY DOWN to fight 3 Saturdays in a row -- as long as it gets him the title fight he's been craving.

Remember, Woodley was supposed to fight Leon Edwards on March 21st -- but the fight was scrapped due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, Tyron says he's been busting his ass to stay in fight shape so he can get back into the octagon as soon as the UFC gets back in business.

Now, Woodley says he's so fired up about going back to work, he's daydreaming about ways get his welterweight championship belt back from Kamaru Usman ASAP ... even if it means fighting 3 weeks in a row.

Tyron spells the whole thing out on "The Hollywood Beatdown" -- saying he's already been in contact with the UFC to try and get on the May 9th card.

And with most sports shut down around the world, Tyron thinks the opportunity to get on a major UFC card would be HUGE.

If he pulls off "back to back to back" victories, Tyron says he would HAVE to be recognized as the UFC G.O.A.T.

There's a lot more in this week's episode ... Tyron also says he's down to scrap on "Fight Island" an explains why he's such a big fan of Joe Exotic!

Mark Wahlberg Weirded Out By Fam ... What's This Carole Baskin Dance?!?

SAVAGE KING

Poor Mark Wahlberg ... the guy seems lost when it comes to the viral Carole Baskin dance, but he got a surprise introduction to it ... courtesy of his wife and daughter!!!

Mark was simply going downstairs for a snack when he ran into his wife, Rhea Durham, and 10-year-old daughter Grace getting down to the TikTok craze dance. He posted the video and posed just one question: "Could somebody please tell me what this is?"

But, it wasn't just that Rhea and Grace were rapping along to a remixed version of Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage." Check out the vid ... the mother-daughter duo dressed up for the part with flannel shirts and cap. Gotta give Grace bonus points for going the distance and channeling Joe Exotic himself by drawing a goatee on her face and fuzzy chest hair.

If ya missed out, like Mark, the remix was recently created by musician Caleb Jaxin, and so far it's been used in more than 1 million TikTok videos. The remix starts with a roar before you hear the lyrics, "Carole Baskin killed her husband, whacked him. Can’t convince me that it didn’t happen. Fed him to tigers, they snackin’. What’s happenin’, Carole Baskin?"

And, if those lyrics are still confusing to Mark ... someone hook him up with a Netflix password so he can binge 'Tiger King.'

Joe Exotic Help Me Out, Judge ... I'm By Myself Without a Computer!!!

10:07 AM PT -- Joe's request for more time has been granted. According to new legals docs ... the judge is giving him until May 28 to file his objection in his civil case.

Joe Exotic is in a desperate situation ... he's isolated in the bowels of a federal prison, unable to fight the government in his $89 million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit, and he's begging the judge for access to a computer and the law library.

The "Tiger King" star just filed a handwritten legal doc, telling the judge he's running out of time to respond to the government's legal docs in the civil lawsuit. Joe says he can't respond without the proper tools, so he wants another 30 days.

Joe says he's been isolated at the Federal Medical Center ... he can't phone anyone, email them ... he has no access to the outside world.

This syncs up with our TMZ Investigation, which aired on Fox last Monday. We were told he was in isolation because inmates from the previous facility where Joe was housed tested positive for the virus. The prison disputes it, but for some reason, he's still in quarantine. His people say Joe is virus-free.

Joe is also appealing his conviction. He has some interesting arguments ... among them, "did the prosecutor throw in animal abuse charges in the murder-for-hire trial just to unfairly prejudice the jury so he'd get convicted?" And, if you saw the special, it's interesting that "hitman" and star prosecution witness Allen Glover revealed a bias by saying he delivered payback to Joe and wished he could have done more to hurt him.

Originally Published -- 8:34 AM PT

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