David Malone wasn't scared of climbing the 52-story Times building last month. "It was like climbing a ladder and I knew I could climb a ladder," the 29-year-old anti-Al Qaeda activist told the Daily News, referring to architect Renzo Piano's inviting ceramic rods. But, with a court date looming Tuesday, he does sound nervous about New York City prosecutors, calling the climb "the biggest mistake of my life... It caused a public disturbance and put police officers potentially at risk." One wonders if Malone realizes the other two climbers got off with basically parking tickets. And one would assume the Times isn't putting any new pressure on the court, given its own passion for breaking certain legal directives in the service of free expression. Malone even showed an almost Times-esque caution in his civil disobedience:

"I was hoping for a minimal crowd and a minimal disturbance to traffic," Malone said...

If he was really looking for "minimal disruption," Malone had a strange way of showing it. After hanging a banner on the building blasting Al Qaeda's "crusader baiting" of President Bush, Malone called The News looking for more exposure.

He rattled on to an editor about his theories about Al Qaeda.

The News editor eventually had to journey to The Times building to help persuade him to give himself up to cops.

See how the News kind of screws Malone in those last few sentences? That's why the climber should have leaked to the Post. How do you think that tabloid would have handled the case of an American anti-terror crusader being prosecuted more severely in a New York court than a French environmentalist? It's not even worth asking.

[Daily News]

(Pictured climber is Alain Robert, one of the first two. Getty Images.)