Imprisoned Tiger King subject Joe Exotic had his official pardon request rejected by the United States Justice Department, and he's filed a lawsuit over the denial. 

CBS 11 News reports that Exotic, who has been vying for a pardon from the Trump administration ever since Netflix's docuseries took the internet by storm earlier this year, has said the rejection of his request shouldn't be valid as it was not presented to Trump directly. The controversial figure was found guilty of a long list of animal cruelty charges, and trying to hire someone to kill fellow Tiger King subject Carole Baskin. 

Exotic's legal team has disputed the charges, especially in connection with the 22-year sentence he received for the alleged murder-for-hire plot, which is central to the narrative of Tiger King. "Joe Exotic does not seek to influence the nature of the recommendation, but only to compel the Office of the Pardon Attorney to comply with its ministerial duties to provide notice and a recommendation to the President, and thus to allow the President to exercise his plenary power under the Constitution," said his legal team, while adding that Donald Trump Jr. has personally "been an advocate for Joe Exotic to be pardoned." 

His pardon request was submitted on Sept. 8, and the Office of the Pardon Attorney rejected it in a response just two days later. As recently as November, his legal team expressed serious confidence in Exotic receiving a presidential pardon. On Thanksgiving, Exotic shared a message with his supporters, once again thanking fans for helping his efforts to get pardoned.