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Charges dropped in Chicago high-rise jail escape

CHICAGO — Escape charges have been dropped against a convicted bank robber who climbed out of a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to dismiss the charges against 37-year-old Joseph "Jose" Banks. The defense offered no objection.

Prosecutors say Banks already faces up to 80 years in prison when he is sentenced in March on a bank robbery conviction. Prosecutors say they plan to use the escape to argue for a stiffer sentence.

Banks escaped from the lockup Dec. 18 along with fellow inmate Kenneth Conley, who remains at large. FBI officials say Banks and Conley broke a large hole into the bottom of a window at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. They used a rope made from bed sheets to climb about 20 stories to the ground.

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