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Why prison escapee David Sweat is helping investigators

by Eun Kyung Kim /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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David Sweat already is serving a life sentence, so why would the New York prison escapee be helping police after his recent capture following 23 days on the run? Because the convicted cop-killer still has much to gain by cooperating with authorities, legal analyst Lisa Bloom explained Tuesday on TODAY.

There are specific details investigators are seeking from Sweat, one of two inmates who escaped the Clinton Correctional facility in New York earlier this month. Richard Matt was shot dead Friday.

“What other prison authorities, if any, are implicated in this plot?” Bloom told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie. “Was it really just Joyce Mitchell and one other person who says he was unaware that he was helping? Or were there more? I think that’s the most important question.”

Watch: David Sweat tells officials the plan was to go to Mexico

Mitchell, 51, is charged with helping both inmates in their escape. According to investigators, Sweat said Mitchell was the only prison worker involved in the breakout.

However, 12 prison employees and executives — including the superintendent — have been placed on administrative leave as part of an ongoing investigation, authorities told NBC on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Sweat will be charged with escape in the first-degree, though the penalty will be a moot point since he is already serving life. For Sweat, “it’s all about the privileges” now, Bloom said.

“Gone are going to be the television, the hot plate, the working in the tailor shop," she said. "Those privileges, if he wants to get any of those back, if he wants to get out of administrative segregation — solitary confinement — he has a little bit to work with there in terms of bargaining.”

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.

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