World Trade Center BASE jumpers cleared of burglary, convicted on lesser charges for 2013 plunge from tower

Shayna Jacobs New York Daily News

A trio of BASE jumpers who parachuted from atop 1 World Trade Center in 2013 was acquitted Monday of burglarizing the building.

But daredevils Andrew Rossig, 34, James Brady, 33, and Marko Markovich, 28, were convicted on several lesser charges.

The thrill-seeking threesome was tried for burglary, a felony, as well as two counts of reckless endangerment to people and property.

They were also charged with jumping from a structure in violation of a city law.

While cleared of the top felony charge, they were convicted on the final three.

Rossig, Brady and Markovich admitted they plunged from the 1,776-foot tower in lower Manhattan about 3 a.m. on Sept. 30, 2013.

Brady, who was an iron worker at the site, smuggled their parachutes inside the “Freedom Tower” and helped the others sneak in through a hole in the security fence.

He landed on the West Side Highway, while Rossig, a carpenter who builds stage sets, dropped onto Vesey St., where a bagel shop manager spotted him.

Markovich, a skydiving instructor, steered himself into Battery Park.

They piled into a getaway driven by Kyle Hartwell, who testified against them at trial in exchange for a favorable plea deal.

They later shared stunning GoPro footage of their heart-stopping descents.

Lawyers for the jumpers criticized the city’s overblown investigation.

“This verdict is the same as the plea that we would have taken over a year ago,” said Rossig’s lawyer Tim Parlatore.

“The main issue in the case was the district attorney’s office taking a misdemeanor and trying to turn it into a felony,” said Parlatore.

He said too many resources were wasted on the probe, handled by the NYPD’s elite Intelligence Division & Counter-Terrorism Bureau.

“They probably wasted a half a million dollars on this case … If they had taken this plea which we offered them in the beginning, they could have hired 10 new cops,” he said.

The defense said the burglary charge didn’t apply because the men jumped from the communication structure on the roof, outside the building.

Prosecutors argued the feat was a danger to the BASE jumpers themselves and pedestrians and drivers in the heavily-populated area.

Juror Ricardo Henriquez, 34, a social worker from Washington Heights, said the panel of six men and six women were also focused whether the tower was part of the building nearly deadlocked. They submitted a note Monday indicating they were still hung on two counts.

“We thought about it and we said forget it … We had a couple of days arguing about this topic. They’re not guilty for (burglary),” Henriquez said.

Jurors agreed that jumping from a building was a dangerous prospect, making it easy to reach an accord on the reckless endangerment charges.

Prosecutors argued the jumps posed a danger to the BASE jumpers themselves and pedestrians and drivers in the heavily populated area.

They also argued the communication tower — the three massive rings that can be seen above the building at the base of the antenna — serve a function for the building and technically are a part of it.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. blasted the defendants for brushing off the severity of the incident.

“In the nearly two years since this BASE jump occurred, the three men who parachuted off One World Trade Center have yet to acknowledge the dangerousness or cost of their actions,” Vance said in a statement.

“The defendants took pride in their perceived accomplishment, and seemed to relish evasion of authorities,” the DA added.

All three face up to a year behind bars. Markovich will be sentenced July 17 while Rossig and Brady will be sentenced July 10.

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