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WTC BASE Jumper: Use Of Damaged Parachute Did Not Place Public In Danger

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A BASE jumper and skydiving instructor defended his decision in court Tuesday to make a daring leap from 1 World Trade Center with a broken parachute.

Marko Markovich's parachute, which had been stashed on the roof in advance, had been gnawed by rats, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported.

But the shredded parachute did not stop Markovich, who has made more than 7,000 parachute jumps and has more than 500 BASE jumps behind him. He testified it actually forced him to make a safer jump than he planned because he had to open his main chute manually, depriving him of the the thrill of a 20-second free fall.

WTC BASE Jumper: Use Of Damaged Parachute Did Not Place Public In Danger

He landed safely in Battery Park.

Markovich, James Brady, Andrew Rossig are on trial after pleading not guilty to felony burglary, reckless endangerment and other charges. Their alleged lookout during the September 2013 leap, Kyle Hartwell, is being tried separately.

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

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Giovanetti has argued the three defendants "put their egos above the law and safety of New Yorkers."

Defense attorneys  have conceded the defendants put themselves on the top of the nation's tallest building and parachuted off, but said they knew what they were doing and did not endanger anyone.

Authorities say Markovich, Brady and Rossig squeezed through a hole in a fence and climbed 104 flights of stairs. The three 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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