New York, Aug 10: Two base jumpers who skydived off the World Trade Center "sullied the memories" of victims of the 9/11 attacks, a New York judge said today, slapping them with hefty sentences of community service.
Steel worker James Brady, 33 and carpenter Andrew Rossig, 34, were ordered to carry out 250 and 200 hours of community service respectively, and each fined USD 2,000 in the state Supreme Court.
They had faced up to two years in jail for their daring night-time stunt in September 2013, the video of which sparked an Internet sensation. The jump exposed lax security at the new World Trade Center, built on part of the site destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and an emblem of the city's rejuvenation.
"After 9/11 the world changed, everything happened," said New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan in sentencing the pair. Their act was not heroic but "selfish and reckless, and they're fortunate their stunt did not result in tragedy," he said.
"They made a very, very poor decision. They executed a base jump off of One World Trade Center otherwise known as Freedom Tower, an iconic building constructed on hallowed ground."
"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," he said. Brady and Rossig were found guilty by a jury in June of misdemeanors that included reckless endangerment and unauthorized jumping.
A third defendant, Marko Markovich, 28, is to be sentenced separately.