Ghost Ship Trial: Defense claims fire was arson

Bay Area

A defense attorney countered a prosecutor’s emotional opening statement by attempting to deflect blame from his client charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Ghost Ship trial. 

The trial started Tuesday in Oakland with the prosecution laying out its case to the jury. 

Derick Almena and Max Harris are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fire that happened in 2016.

Prosecutors say the men put partygoers at risk with the warehouse’s makeshift electrical system, and knowingly created a fire trap with not enough exits. 

Defense attorneys, however, say the people that should be blamed are the warehouse’s owners, and Oakland Police and Fire.

“The fire was arson,” the defense attorney for Almena said during his opening statement. 

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators could not determine the cause.

Opening statements concluded Wednesday morning.

The trial will resume Monday and testimony is expected to begin next week.

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