I know, I know, it’s tough to keep up with the teams without a scorecard these days. While the marketing of human organs from abortions continues apace and the national media continues to cover it as a budget fight, the media’s choice for World Villains of the Week also claim that they did nothing illegal. A lawyer for the team that killed Cecil the Lion appeared on Good Morning America today and insisted that his clients worked within the law, and had no idea that the lion had a tracking collar until it was too late:

The American dentist who acknowledged earlier this week that he shot Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe had “no idea” that he had killed a beloved and famous lion who was wearing a GPS tracking collar, according to the tour guide’s lawyer.

Professional hunter and guide Theo Bronkhorst was with Dr. Walter Palmer when he killed the lion in a national park, which has garnered worldwide outrage.

Bronkhorst’s lawyer shed new light on what happened and went into details about what the hunters say took place just moments before the lion was killed.

Zimbabwe has begun the process of demanding extradition of Dr. Walter Palmer, but meanwhile have not charged anyone in their own country with a crime — at least, not yet:

However, Reuters noted that the Zimbabwean government raises money for conservation by … offering licenses for big-game hunting:

As with many African countries, Zimbabwe issues annual hunting permits for big game such as elephant, buffalo and lion, arguing that the revenues generated can be used for wider wildlife conservation.

Last year, the southern African nation which is still recovering from billion-percent hyperinflation a decade ago, earned $45 million from hunting, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority head Edison Chadziya told reporters.

Zimbabwe had an estimated 2,000 lions on private and government-owned reserves and issued hunting quotas of 50-70 lions every year, he added.

If Palmer didn’t have the requisite permit, he could be extradited to face charges. However, he has already stated that he paid $55,000 for the safari and that his guides handled the permitting. Under those circumstances, the US government should think carefully about extradition, and should refer the Mugabe government to its own citizens for prosecution.

Nonetheless, the US Fish and Wildlife Service wants Palmer to get in touch with them immediately:

Edward Grace, the USFWS deputy chief of law enforcement, said the service was investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of Cecil. “That investigation will take us wherever the facts lead,” he said, adding that the service “will assist Zimbabwe officials in whatever manner requested”.

Grace said: “It is up to all of us – not just the people of Africa – to ensure that healthy, wild populations of animals continue to roam the savanna for generations to come.”

The USFWS proposed listing African lions as threatened under the Endangered Species Act last October.

Grace also urged Palmer “or his representative [to] contact us immediately”, noting that “multiple efforts to contact Dr Walter Palmer have been unsuccessful”.

Palmer had better bring his lawyer, because he’ll need one. Even if he didn’t break any laws, the track record of federal agencies in this administration making that a threshold for punishment-via-process speaks to a very long and unpleasant future for Palmer.