Ghost Ship Trial: Main defendant Derick Almena accuses prosecution witnesses of lying in their testimonies

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- For a second day, Ghost Ship founder Derick Almena took the stand in his own defense.

Almena pulled a list out of his jacket-- a handwritten list his lawyer Tony Serra says he made while sitting in jail for two and a half years. On the list are names of dozens of city officials he claims walked through the warehouse-- including 16 visits by 28 police officers and five visits by 13 members of the Oakland fire department.

Serra said, "Make no bones about it-- we believe the fire department perjured themselves when they said they never went inside. And they didn't do their job and they know darn well it could cost Oakland millions in civil suits. "

WATCH: Main defendant becomes emotional as testimony begins
Ghost Ship Trial: Derick Almena becomes emotional as testimony begins


Almena described a pig roast and how an Oakland Fire Captain and three other firemen dropped in.

Serra asked, "Did you ever hear you were in violation of fire code?" "Never" replied Almena. "They were enjoying themselves."



Referring to previous testimony from officials who said they had never been in the building, Almena said, "they are good people and they are lying. "

Almena is facing 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter along with codefendant Max Harris for the December 2016 warehouse fire that killed 36 people at a concert.



Almena touched a photo of his family as he broke down in tears and exonerated Harris with his testimony saying he had a little to do with running ghost ship.

As cross-examination got underway in the afternoon a lot of animosity surfaced in the courtroom as prosecutors tried to point out discrepancies in Almena's testimony. Families of victims reacted with disgust.

GHOST SHIP TRIAL: Executive director or volunteer? Max Harris has conflicting testimony

Colleen Dolan lost her daughter in the fire. She called Almena "a weasel," saying, "He speaks around his answers to negate what he has said in the past and he lies."

The heat is on as cross-examination resumes in the morning and continues possibly into Thursday.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Ghost Ship Fire trial.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.