Ghost Ship Trial: Legal expert sheds light on trial ahead of rebuttal


OAKLAND (KRON) — The defense has rested its case in the Ghost Ship warehouse trial and now, prosecutors are preparing for rebuttal evidence, which will be presented next week.

KRON4’S Michelle Kingston has been covering this trial from inside the courtroom for more than two months now and spoke to a legal expert today who says the district attorneys’ office picked the two weakest people to charge in this case.

“People were trying to do a good thing and a bad thing happened, that so many people had their sort of proverbial hand in that,” said defense attorney Paula Canny. “You want to put these two people in a horrible filthy jail. How has that made anything better? It doesn’t.”

Canny is a defense attorney, not representing anyone in the Ghost Ship trial, but someone who has been watching very closely.

“I kind of think the way it is set up, if they find either Harris or Almena guilty for one they will find them guilty for all 36 and vice versa,” she said.

Derick Almena and Max Harris are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for everyone who died in the fire at the electronic music party back in 2016 at the Ghost Ship — an Oakland warehouse.

The space was not zoned or permitted for people to live inside or to hold large events.

 But Almena, his wife and three children, his co-defendant, max harris, who is described as the creative director,  and about 20 other people lived there.

Prosecutors say Almena and Harris are responsible for the fire because they did not provide exit signs, sprinklers or working fire extinguishers.

“It is complicated and the prosecution is going to try to argue this is a very simple case, they didn’t get permits, they didn’t do the things they should’ve done and they let people live in a place that wasn’t designed to live in,” she said. “And therefore they are legally responsible.”

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