The men appeared in court late Monday, as video they recorded of the September 30 jump surfaces.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the arrests were made as a result of a nearly six-month investigation conducted jointly by the NYPD Intelligence Division and the Port Authority Police Department that involved an extensive review of video footage from the area around the World Trade Center site, as well as other electronic and photographic evidence.
The suspects have been identified as 27-year-old Marko Markovich, 33-year-old Andrew Rossig, 29-year-old Kyle Hartwell and 32-year-old James Brady. Hartwell allegedly acted as a lookout on the street.
"A peaceful, quiet moment looking at the world from a different place, a place that most people don't ever get to see," Rossig told Eyewitness News. "It's six months after the fact, and we were a little bit shocked that they spent that much time and energy continuing to pursue something that they knew was not a terroristic act."
At the time of the incident, Brady was a construction worker assigned to 1 World Trade who had access to the site.
"It was illegal, you know, we never meant to upset anybody or anything like that," Brady said. "It was a very simple thing. A positive, simple thing...I don't know. Just trying to just put my life back together, get back to normal."
The men kept the jump and the video a secret at home until police showed up with search warrants.
"Our intent was never for this to go public," Rossig said. "We never posted the video footage. People didn't know about it. We kept things quiet. As far as we were concerned, no one ever needed to know."
Defense attorneys Timothy Parlatore and Andrew Mancilla say three accused jumpers and an alleged accomplice on the ground are experienced BASE jumpers - the acronym stands for "building, span, antenna, earth." The lawyers say the men took care to keep from endangering anyone.
The suspects are charged with third-degree burglary, a felony, and reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure, both misdemeanors. They were arraigned Monday night and released on $3,500 bail.
"These men violated the law and placed themselves, as well as others, in danger," Bratton said. "These arrests should send a message to anyone thinking about misusing a landmark this way. They will be tracked down and they will face serious charges. Being a thrill-seeker does not give immunity from the law."
Monday's arrests come eight days after a 16-year-old was arrested on charges of climbing up to the top of the nation's biggest skyscraper.
YouTube Video: (Warning: Explicit language) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz7sxt9xeJE#t=207