Ghost Ship Trial: Combative exchanges between Almena, prosecutor


OAKLAND (KRON) — A series of combative exchanges between the prosecutor and Derick Almena set the stage for today’s Ghost Ship trial testimony in Oakland.

Almena and co-defendant Max Harris face 36-counts of involuntary manslaughter for the people who died in the Ghost Ship fire back in December of 2016. 

It was a very combative question and answer session between prosecutor Autry James and Almena during day two of his cross examination.

It was like watching two people speaking different languages and not understanding each other. 

Prosecutor James framed questions, seeking yes or no answers and defendant Almena often answering in long winding narratives. 

When asked why he lied to Oakland police about people living there, he testified that he didn’t know he was lying and he thought he was being helpful.

When the prosecutor asked Almena isn’t it true that he had no permits for the work done on the stairs, side door, electrical system or the plumbing, the defendant told the jury, “no I did not.”

Follow up line of questioning — did he tell people attending events at the Ghost Ship about the recurring power outages? 

Almena told the court the issue with the power is that we wouldn’t have any, not that it was dangerous

When the subject of him signing the lease for the warehouse came up, Almena testified that he felt mislead or tricked by the owner of the property. 

“Well because the owner in the early stages told him that the zoning allowed him to do everything that he wanted to do and then he finds out, no, he can’t do everything he wanted to do. So he felt in that way he was tricked,” said attorney Tony Serra.

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