Prosecutors: One WTC Base Jumpers ‘Put Egos Above Law, Safety’

CBS New York/AP

Opening statements began Monday in the trial of three men who parachuted off One World Trade Center last year.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, BASE jumpers James Brady, Marko Markovich, Andrew Rossig and their alleged lookout, Kyle Hartwell, pleaded not guilty to felony burglary, reckless endangerment and other charges. All except Hartwell are on trial together.

The burglary charge involves being in a building illegally with an intention to commit another crime: breaking a city law against parachuting from skyscrapers.

Indignant Assistant District Attorney Joseph Giovanetti said the three defendants “put their egos above the law and safety of New Yorkers.” He told the jury the BASE jumpers exploited the New York City monument, knowing that it was wrong and against the law, but doing it anyway because they wanted to.

Defense attorneys for the men conceded the defendants put themselves on the top of the tallest building in the United States and parachuted off, but said they knew what they were doing and did not endanger anyone.

They noted that one of the jumpers wrote a note to his mother reading, “Sorry, mom, for what it’s worth, but I need to write some history.”

Authorities say Markovich, Brady and Rossig squeezed through a hole in a fence and climbed 104 flights of stairs. The three strode into the skyscraper, climbed stairs to the roof and spent about four hours enjoying the views before taking what they portray as a careful, 3 a.m. plunge by experienced jumpers over deserted streets.

A video of the jump was posted on YouTube, and surveillance video captured the jumpers landing in front of the Goldman Sachs building.

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