By CBSMiami.com Team

BUTNER, N.C. (CBSMiami/AP) — A defense attorney says the former Oklahoma zookeeper known as “Tiger King” Joe Exotic has been transferred to a medical facility in North Carolina for federal inmates after a cancer diagnosis.

Defense lawyer John Phillips says Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was taken from a federal medical center in Fort Worth, Texas, to a federal medical center in Butner, North Carolina, last week.

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This photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage, an Oklahoma zookeeper, who was indicted on federal murder-for-hire charges. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)

Phillips said Maldonado-Passage told him that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was getting medical treatment and tests “for a host of issues.” Phillips 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 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found that the trial court wrongly treated those two convictions separately in calculating his prison term under sentencing guidelines.

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The appeals court panel said his advisory sentencing range should be between 17 1/2 years and just under 22 years rather than between just under 22 years and 27 years in prison, as the trial court calculated.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic and one of his cats in the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” (Source: Netflix via CNN)

Maldonado-Passage is prominently featured in the Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Meanwhile, 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, which began airing Nov. 17.

A federal magistrate judge issued a recommendation Friday denying the Baskins’ bid to block use of the footage as an impermissible prior restraint under the First Amendment.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team