Ghost Ship Trial: Defense, prosecution rest ahead of closing arguments

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OAKLAND (KRON) — All parties have rested their cases here at the Ghost Ship trial in Oakland but not before Max Harris was recalled to the witness stand. 

Harris was called back to the stand to refute the testimony of prosecution rebuttal witness Oakland Police Officer Hector Chavez. 

Officer Chavez told the court that he responded to an illegal rave party back on March 1, 2015 at the ghost ship and got into a physical altercation with Harris.

However when the video was played for the jury, the defense team for Harris decided to put him back on the stand because they say that is not Harris in that video

“Max Harris’ life is in his hands. He is an officer of the law. His testimony is important,” said Curtis Briggs, Harris’ attorney. “It should be accurate. The jury is relying on it and he got up there and his own body camera completely contradicted 100% everything that he testified.”

“In a way, this was a gift for us,” said Tyler Smith, co-counsel for Harris. “You know, that’s what they’re going to close on? In a more significant way it’s kind of a microcosm of how this case has gone.”

The other rebuttal witness was Cinda Stoddard, an investigator with the District Attorney’s office. 

She testified that emails between Almena and the owners of the Ghost Ship did not contain any information about the owners telling him to lie about people living there

Family members of the victims say they are satisfied with the prosecution’s effort in this trial.

“In my opinion,  they presented a case that is strong enough to be won,” said David Gregory, the father of Michela Gregory, who died in the fire. “I just hope that the jury will pay attention to all the lies that were told during this trial because that’s what it boils down to.”

The trial is in recess until July 29. 

That is when all parties return for closing arguments.

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