NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The three people who BASE jumped from One World Trade Center appeared in court Wednesday, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports.

The attorney for BASE jumper Andrew Rossig told the jury, “Don’t let these men be scapegoated because they embarrassed city and state government.”

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Attorney Tim Parlatore argued that they are three expert base jumpers who followed their passion — jumping from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

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He put the crimes in perspective, Cornell reports, saying they are part of what adds to New York City’s unique history. He recalled Philippe Petit, who strung a wire between the Twin Towers in 1974 and thrilled the city by walking across.

Parlatore says the three base jumpers did not recklessly endanger anyone and to call it burglary is not what the justice system is all about.

Authorities say the three jumpers 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.

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A video of the jump was posted on YouTube, and surveillance video captured the jumpers landing in front of the Goldman Sachs building.