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Judge: Jury May Decide If WTC Jumpers Committed Felony Burglary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A group of men who parachuted from the top of 1 World Trade Center can make their case to a jury that they should not be convicted of felony burglary, a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Charles Solomon had previously refused to toss the top charge of felony burglary related to the September 2013 stunt, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported.

The judge has blasted the thrill seekers in the past for what he called their "inexcusable self-indulgence," saying they were fortunate that no one was injured given the unpredictable variables.

Judge: Jury May Decide If WTC Jumpers Committed Burglary

A trial date has not yet been set for James Brady, Marko Markovich, Andrew Rossig and their alleged lookout, Kyle Hartwell.

The four have pleaded not guilty to felony burglary, reckless endangerment and other charges. The burglary charge involves being in a building illegally with an intention to commit another crime: breaking a city law against parachuting from skyscrapers.

Their court apperance Thursday came a day after a BASE jumper in Michigan fell to his death in a jump from a TV news tower when his parachute failed to open.

The New York jump raised questions about security at one of the most protected sites in the country. The parachutists acknowledge making the jump from the then-unfinished skyscraper, but they say that they didn't imperil anyone and that the charges are overreaching by embarrassed authorities.

Brady, Markovich and Rossig say they walked through a hole in the trade center's fence, though prosecutors have said in court papers that Hartwell told police that Brady provided access to the building. An ironworker, he had worked at the trade center.

The three strode into the nation's tallest building, 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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