By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three men who jumped with parachutes from the top of One World Trade Center were convicted of criminal charges on Monday in their plunge from America's tallest building.
Their leap from the top of the 104-story building was partly caught on security video that showed at least two figures in black suits and helmets floating down beneath open parachutes and landing on the streets of lower Manhattan, one of their defense attorneys said.
A jury in state Supreme Court in Manhattan deliberated over the course of four days before reaching a verdict in the trial of James Brady, 33, Andrew Rossig, 34, and Marko Markovich, 28, who live in the New York City suburbs.
They were cleared of the most serious charge - burglary - but convicted of three other charges, including reckless endangerment, reckless endangerment of property and unauthorized climbing, jumping and suspending oneself from a structure.
The skyscraper stands on the location where more than 2,700 people perished when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. It was still under construction when the jumpers pulled off their stunt early on Sept. 30, 2013.
The men sneaked through a gap in the construction fence, prosecutors said during the trial. They then jumped from a height of nearly a quarter of a mile (four-tenths of a km) in a vivid demonstration of BASE jumping, an extreme sport that can involve jumping from a building, antenna or cliff.
The plunge was also captured in videos shot with cameras strapped to the jumpers' helmets and posted on YouTube, one of which has been viewed more than 3.5 million times.
Defense attorneys during the trial had sought to have the burglary charge dropped, arguing it did not apply to someone who jumped from the outside of a building.
One World Trade Center opened to its first tenants in November last year.
Since May, visitors seeking the thrill of its vistas can pay $32 for an adult admission ticket, which buys a 47-second elevator ride to the 100th floor observatory.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Beech)