Motion to dismiss charges against Ghost Ship fire suspects denied

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A judge denied the motion to drop all charges against two defendants in the Ghost Ship fire case where 36 people were killed at a warehouse in Oakland. (KGO-TV)

The Ghost Ship fire case was back in court in Oakland with Max Harris' attorney offering to pay out of his own pocket for a "sober living arrangement" in an appeal to get him bailed out of jail.

Harris's attorney Curtis Briggs said, "It seems as though the court is leaning toward releasing Mr. Harris on bail based on new law and circumstances."

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Harris' attorney offered to use his own money to help pay for Harris' living arrangements with an electronic ankle monitor based on a new landmark state court ruling requiring judges to consider alternatives to jail for criminal defendants who can't afford cash bail.

Harris along with Derick Almena, the founder of the arts collective known as "Ghost Ship", are each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal fire back in December 2016.

A judge turned down a motion to dismiss those charges Thursday. Almena's wife believes her husband is being scapegoated. But Almena will have a chance to speak in court. His attorney, Tony Serra said, "We intend at trial to put our client on, so Mr. Almena will be testifying and he'll be testifying on his own behalf. "

Attorneys are also pushing for an evidentiary hearing before the trial judge. Kali Mari-Bowyer, an Almena family spokesperson said, "There were spoilage issues, there was rain and mud and chain of command and that's what they're going back and forth on. If you don't have evidence how do you prosecute somebody?"

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Max Harris will be back in court on May 24 for a bail hearing. The Ghost Ship trial is set to begin on July 16. Thre was no comment today from prosecutors.
Click here for full coverage on the investigation into Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship Fire.
Related Topics:
building firefire deathfiredeadly fireinvestigationbuilding code violationghost ship firecourt caseOPDOakland
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