NEW YORK – A former television show host who tried to parachute off the Empire State Building was sentenced Thursday to probation and community service for the stunt.
State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber gave Jeb Corliss three years' probation and 100 hours of community service. He also said Corliss, of Malibu, California, could fulfill the probation and community service requirements in his home state.
Corliss was arrested when he tried to parachute from the 86th-floor observation deck of the 102-story Manhattan landmark in April 2006. Security guards thwarted his stunt when they grabbed him through the bars of a fence he had scaled.
Jurors convicted him on a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. He faced up to a year in jail.
The judge said Thursday that he received letters from police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the owners of the Empire State Building asking for a jail sentence for Corliss.
In explaining the reasoning behind the sentence, Farber noted the offense was a misdemeanor, that Corliss had no criminal record and that the prosecution had offered a non-jail plea deal before trial.
"I simply don't find it warranted in this case," the judge said.
He also said that in his years as a prosecutor and a judge trying murder, rape and other cases, he had never received a letter from a high-ranking police official asking for a specific kind of sentence.
"From some of the letters I received, you would have thought the defendant tried to commit a terrorist act," the judge said.
Corliss, a former host of the Discovery Channel's "Stunt Junkies" program, did not speak to the court.
He claimed to have made more than 1,000 safe jumps from structures and cliffs in the United States, Japan, Russia, France and Malaysia. The network dropped Corliss after his arrest, saying it was disappointed in "his serious lack of judgment and his reckless behavior."
He had said that he expected to earn $250,000 as the show's host in 2007.