The US tenth Circuit Court docket of Appeals vacated Maldonado-Passage’s 264-month jail sentence, which was handed down final 12 months for the murder-for-hire plots involving animal rights activist Carole Baskin in addition to a number of wildlife violations. Maldonado-Passage had filed an attraction arguing that his murder-for-hire convictions must be overturned as a result of the trial court docket allowed Baskin to attend his whole trial although she was a listed authorities witness. The 2 counts he was sentenced for utilizing interstate services within the fee of his murder-for-hire plots ought to have been mixed, he additionally argued, as a result of they “concerned the identical sufferer and two or extra acts or transactions that have been linked by a typical prison goal,” in response to the opinion.The panel affirmed Maldonado-Passage’s conviction, discovering that the district court docket acted inside its discretion in permitting Baskin to remain within the courtroom as against the law sufferer. Nevertheless, the panel dominated that the district court docket “erred by not grouping the 2 murder-for-hire convictions at sentencing.”Maldonado-Passage’s appellate counsel advised CNN he’s “happy with the appellate court docket’s choice” in a press release. “I’m optimistic that the choice in the present day is however considered one of many extra victories to come back for Joe — and his eventual freedom,” legal professional Brandon Pattern mentioned. In an audio message offered by his legal professional to CNN affiliate KOCO, Maldonado-Passage expressed hope for getting a brand new trial regardless of the appellate court docket choice affirming his conviction. CNN has reached out to the Assistant United States Legal professional for the Western District of Oklahoma for remark. Baskin declined to supply remark to CNN when contacted. ‘Tiger King’ star was convicted in 2019Maldonado-Passage was discovered responsible by a federal jury in 2019, practically a 12 months earlier than the discharge of the Netflix present that documented his rise and fall because the proprietor of an unique animal park in Oklahoma.Baskin, additionally featured on the present and a longtime vocal critic of Maldonado-Passage’s animal park, owns a tiger sanctuary in Florida and had earlier secured a million-dollar judgment in opposition to him.Throughout trial, a jury heard proof that Maldonado-Passage paid a person $3,000 to journey from Oklahoma to Florida to kill Baskin, with a promise to pay 1000’s extra after she was lifeless, in response to the US Legal professional’s Workplace for the Western District of Oklahoma. Maldonado-Passage had tried to search out somebody to kill her since July 2016, in response to the US Legal professional’s workplace, and had unknowingly met with an undercover FBI agent to debate particulars of the deliberate homicide.In June 2020, after Maldonado-Passage’s sentencing, a judgment awarded Baskin management of the Oklahoma park.CNN’s Raja Razek, Nicole Williams, Steve Forrest, Joe Sutton, Religion Karimi and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.