'French Spider-Man': Scaling New York Times Building Was Easy

A French daredevil who scaled the 52-story New York Times building in the name of global warming said the climb was a breeze.

Alain Robert, who appeared Wednesday in Manhattan court, could spend up to a year in jail if convicted of misdemeanor charges. But his lawyer, Daniel Arshack, said he doesn't think the court would impose a penalty that severe.

Robert's next court date is Oct. 1; prosecutors have until then to decide whether to present his case to a grand jury. In the meantime, he said: "If there is something I can do for the city of New York, I would be very happy to do it."

New Yorker Renaldo Clarke, who climbed the building hours after Robert did, has now been released on $2,000 bail, and is due back in court July 16.

On May 26, 1977, George Willig, a mountain climber, was arrested for scaling the World Trade Center, but he was later was given a hero's welcome at City Hall by Mayor Abraham D. Beame.

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Meanwhile, Robert's attorney believes his client should be honored by the city of New York for scaling the skyscraper in the name of global warming.

"I'm hoping that Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg will react just the way his proud predecessor did," Arshack, said outside court.

Robert is charged with reckless endangerment, trespassing, disorderly conduct and graffiti — a reference to the banner he displayed on his way up the New York Times building. But Arshack said none of Robert's activities fit those charges.

Arshak added that, as a professional climber, Robert took every possible precaution to make sure no one was injured.

He said his client wanted to "stand on the tallest soap box he could find to make his point."

Outside court, Robert peeled off his leather jacket to reveal a shirt that advertised his Web site. He urged the leaders of various nations to take the global warming issue seriously when they meet at the G8 Summit next month in Japan.

The 45-year-old Frenchman has scaled more than 80 structures, including the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago's Sears Tower and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — twice.

A New Yorker with a different agenda who climbed the Times building hours after Robert did last Thursday, Renaldo Clarke, has now been released on $2,000 bail, and is due back in court July 16.

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