Alex Witt: More revelations this morning following the capture of prison escapee David Sweat. New reports say Sweat told authorities it was prison worker Joyce Mitchell, not he and Richard Matt, who plotted to have her husband Lyle killed as she alleged.
Sweat remains in fair condition in an Albany Hospital recovering from gunshot wounds following his capture on Sunday. Fellow escapee Richard Matt was killed by police a week ago.
Now the Buffalo News is reporting, citing law enforcement sources that Matt wrote a letter to his daughter saying, “See you on the outside.” The letter was delivered three days after his escape.
Joining me now, criminal defense attorney Enrique Latoison. Enrique, with a welcome to you, I want to start with this new letter. It was obtained there by the Buffalo News.
The paper says that Matt wrote his daughter saying, “I always promised you I would see you on the outside. I’m a man of my word.” We should note that authorities say the daughter had no advanced knowledge of the plot. She has also declined to be interviewed. The paper is not naming her. But what do you think was the purpose in writing this letter?
Enrique Latoison: I think it was his way of saying, “I told you so.” I mean he wrote the letter. He knew he was getting out. They did a dry run. They already knew he was going to be successful in getting out. So he sends this letter. I guess there’s a little bit to be a little – you know, a show-off in a way, shape or form and she had nothing to do with it and she wasn’t aware that he actually was going to break out.
Alex Witt: People magazine is quoting Mitchell’s attorney saying that Joyce Mitchell denies the new allegations from Sweat that she was the one in fact behind the plot to kill her husband Lyle. Joyce Mitchell is accused of providing hacksaw blades, a punch and a screwdriver bit into the prison. She has pleaded not guilty. But do you think on this kind of news we could see some more charges for her? What would they be?
Enrique Latoison: Well, they could attempt to charge her with solicitation of murder. But I mean she has a pretty good renunciation defense. The second they pop their head up out of that manhole cover and she was not there, and they were on their own, one could argue that she no longer wanted anything to do with any kind of murder to kill her husband. They also didn’t attempt to kill her husband at that point.
Once she wasn’t there, they went on the run and they continued to run. When it comes to the charges involved and her husband and attempting to kill him, she has a pretty good defense. Now she’s still going to be on the hook for helping them to escape and everything that she did to get them to that point.
Alex Witt: Yeah. But isn’t this going to be a case of he-said-she-said? In fact the he-said, the he is David Sweat. How credible a witness is he?
Enrique Latoison: Well, if you had asked me how credible he would have been the day before he broke out, I would have said he wouldn’t have hadn’t any – no credibility whatsoever. But you have to take into context. When he was caught, he was already shot. He was tired. He was hungry. He had been on the run for weeks. At that point, they’re probably treating him somewhat of a rock star, asking him, “How did you manage to do this? How did you manage to break out?” Then he starts spilling the beans and he starts telling on everyone and explaining how everything went down.
Alex Witt: What’s in it for him though, to spill the beans? I mean the guy is in for life.
Enrique Latoison: Well, at that point I think it’s pretty much pride. I mean he knows he’s not getting out, but everyone was fascinated to understand how they were able to pull this off. So at that point, he knows he’s never getting out. He’s probably going to be in solitary confinement for the rest of his prison life. But at that point, he gets to talk and explain what happened. I would find him to be more credible on that point in time than any point before that.
Alex Witt: OK. Enrique Latoison, thank you so much and happy 4th. Up next, for all these years, have the fireworks been set up on the wrong day? The real story behind the 4th of July after the break. This is MSNBC.