Now, the Tampa, Fla., based lawyer who appeared in the hit Netflix series tells Fox News that in the 40-plus years he’s represented clients in the Sunshine State, he’s “never” seen a case mishandled quite as Lewis’.
Fritz told us he believes the sheriff’s department had “no choice” but to reopen the case as of late because questions started pouring in from captivated viewers demanding answers.
Carole Baskin at her Big Cats Rescue sanctuary in Florida.
“They [Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office] wanted to have a chat with me and have not found time in 24 years to come visit with me,” Fritz told us.
The seasoned attorney shared two key issues he had with the sheriff’s department’s investigation back in the late ’90s. The first had to do with investigators waiting days before collecting samples from Lewis’ van after it was found abandoned at a private airport.
“That was some pretty d–n sloppy police work,” Fritz exclaimed.
‘Tiger King’ premiered on March 20 on Netflix.
Fritz added that he still is left baffled by the fact that Baskin’s brother worked for the sheriff’s department at the time.
The attorney said that if given the opportunity, he’d gladly speak to the sheriff’s office because he’s been provided information by sources who claim to have knowledge that Lewis was murdered, including the “manner, method, how, when and why.”
“I’ve had two people tell me what happened,” the lawyer said. “I don’t know what to believe but it is the same story.”
Star of the series, Doc Antle, engages with a tiger during the series.
In a statement to Fox News, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office implored Fritz to contact them should he feel compelled to share a lead.
“Forensics were done on the van. A fingerprint pulled was related to someone who had access to the car so it was a lead that went nowhere,” the office added, confirming forensics samples were taken “a few days” after Lewis’ van was found.
“We’re committed to this investigation. We are actively working it and we have some new detectives assigned to the case that are fielding tips. Anyone with information about this case is asked to give us a call at 813-247-8200 and we will investigate it thoroughly. We don’t have all the answers for the investigation that happened in 1997 but we are fully committed to the investigation in 2020 and finding answers for Mr. Lewis’ family.”
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Last week, Baskin herself commented on viewers’ shock responses to Lewis’ cold case – many who agreed with her arch-nemesis, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” who blamed her for her husband’s disappearance and alleged murder.
“There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers,” Baskin’s statement reads in part. “As part of that, it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don in 1997.”
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