Judge extends zookeeper’s deadline to challenge convictions

Oklahoma

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Maldonado-Passage, a former Oklahoma zookeeper and one-time candidate for governor has been sentenced in a murder-for-hire plot. A federal judge in Oklahoma City sentenced 56-year-old Maldonado-Passage, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, for his role in the failed plot and for violating federal wildlife laws. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (The Oklahoman) — A former Oklahoma zookeeper who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for a murder-for-hire plot and federal wildlife violations has been granted more time to argue why his lawsuit challenging the conviction shouldn’t be dismissed.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” filed a federal lawsuit against federal agencies and witnesses, claiming he was convicted based on false and perjured testimony.

A federal judge decided to recommend dismissing his lawsuit and provided an April 28 deadline for objection filing.

The Oklahoman reported that U.S. District Judge Scott Palk extended that deadline to May 28 after Maldonado-Passage said he’s isolated at a Texas medical facility.

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