56-year-old Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic,” was indicted in September on two counts of murder-for-hire and later charged with more than a dozen wildlife charges.
The alleged intended target was Carole Baskin, a chief critic of Maldonado-Passage.
Baskin successfully sued Maldonado-Passage in 2011 for trademark infringement. A 2013 judgment ordered the former Greater Wynnewood Animal Park owner to pay $1 million.
During cross arguments Tuesday, the government pointed to secretly recorded conversations between Maldonado-Passage, an informant, and an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman. Maldonado-Passage is heard in one, talking about Baskin’s usual day-to-day locations she would frequent.
However, the defense has long claimed their client was framed. They say he was all talk and had no intentions of wanting Baskin dead.