WTC BASE jumpers disrespected 9/11 victims, judge says

Rebecca Rosenberg New York Post

A Manhattan judge sentenced two BASE jumpers to community service Monday for leaping off the World Trade Center — a stunt he blasted as “selfish” and “reckless.”

“By all accounts, it appears that your clients, the defendants, are decent men of decent character, yet on the early morning hours of Sept. 30, 2013, they made a very, very poor decision,” said Justice Juan Merchan in Manhattan Supreme Court to the lawyers for James Brady, 33, and Andrew Rossig, 34.

“They executed a BASE jump off of 1 World Trade Center, otherwise known as the Freedom Tower, an iconic building constructed on hallowed ground, and in doing so, these defendants tarnished the building before it even opened and sullied the memories of those who jumped on 9/11 not for sport but because they had to,” the judge railed.

“What the three defendants did was selfish and reckless, and they’re fortunate that their stunt did not result in tragedy to them or the innocent.”

Despite the-tongue lashing, the judge went easy on the daredevils. He sentenced Brady, an ironworker, to 250 hours of community service and Rossig, an electrician, to 200 hours. Each man also has to pay a $2,000 fine. A third defendant, Marko Markovich, 28, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 17.

Prosecutors asked the judge for a stiffer punishment of 60 days in jail and three years’ probation.

“The evidence at trial showed a disturbing degree of calculation, forethought and planning behind the defendants’ crime,” said Assistant District Attorney Joseph Giovannetti. “Every step of the way, they knew what they were doing was wrong yet they continued nonetheless.”

Brady and Rossig apologized for their stunt and insisted it wouldn’t happen again.

“We’re sorry for what we did,” Rossig told the judge. “We didn’t want this whole thing to get blown out of proportion, and we understand that what we did could possibly endanger other people.”

Brady added, “We’re sorry, it won’t happen again.”

After their two-week trial that ended in June, Brady, Rossig and Markovich were convicted of two counts of reckless endangerment and illegal BASE jumping but acquitted of the top count of burglary. They faced up to a year in jail.

“This is a case we were trying to resolve from the beginning with this exact resolution,” said Rossig’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore. “Even though we went through a fairly lengthy process to get here, we’re happy with the result.”

The BASE jumpers sneaked through a fence at 1 WTC, climbed the staircase to the top and leaped from the 1,776-foot skyscraper.

They were busted Feb. 17, after cops tracked them down through surveillance video.

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