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Guard charged in aiding prison escape appears in court

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- A New York corrections officer charged in connection with the escape of two killers from a maximum-security prison has appeared briefly in court.

Suspended Clinton Correctional Facility guard Gene Palmer was charged last week with promoting prison contraband, tampering with evidence and official misconduct.

Second prison worker charged as manhunt for escaped killers closes in

He appeared in court Monday in Plattsburgh with his new lawyer. Palmer waived his right to a preliminary hearing, clearing the way for potential grand jury action.

Palmer is the second employee to be charged since inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat used power tools to cut their way out of the prison June 6. Palmer told investigators he had no knowledge of the escape plans.

He is free on $25,000 bail.

What's next in the New York prison escape investigation?

Another employee of the prison, Joyce Mitchell, 51, is charged with helping them break out. She pleaded not guilty June 15 to charges including felony promoting prison contraband, which authorities said included hacksaw blades and chisels.

Officials said Palmer gave the two prisoners the frozen hamburger meat Joyce Mitchell had used to hide the tools she smuggled to them.

Matt was shot and killed last week in a confrontation with police after nearly three weeks on the run. Sweat was shot, wounded and apprehended by police on Sunday. He was hospitalized in Albany, N.Y., and is listed in serious condition.

Sweat has begun revealing details of his escape plan with Matt. He said the two of them had planned on being picked up June 6 by Mitchell, who has been accused of having intimate relations with Matt.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday they were to kill her husband and drive to Mexico, but Mitchell backed out at the last minute.

Instead of driving to get her alleged fugitive lover, she checked into a hospital suffering from a panic attack. Cuomo told the Capitol Pressroom that when Mitchell failed to pick them up, they instead headed north on foot toward Canada.

Cuomo said Sweat has revealed this and some other information as his condition improves.

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