Attorneys speak out after date set for Oakland Ghost Ship trial

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The attorneys for Derick Almena and Max Harris had strong words after a date was set for the Oakland Ghost Ship trial. (KGO-TV)

A trial date has now been set for the Ghost Ship criminal trial. Jury selection is set to begin in early April of next year. This comes just a month after an Oakland judge threw out a plea agreement that called for relatively short prison sentences for defendants Derick Almena and Max Harris.

"They want a trial, they're going to get a trial!" said Tony Serra, lead attorney for Ghost Ship defendant Derick Almena.

"We'll be going after the landlord, the slumlord, we'll be going after the fire department, we'll be going after child protective services, we'll be going after the sheriff, we'll be going after Oakland police," said Serra, after Judge James Cramer set April 2 as the trial date.


Almena and co-defendant Max Harris both face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the December 2016 fire at the Fruitvale warehouse.

Like Serra, Harris' attorney told reporters that much of his defense will involve diverting blame to others.

"We want to humiliate and embarrass every public official who didn't do their job," said Curtis Briggs, Harris' attorney. "We want to expose and make transparent all of the government malfeasance. We want this to be the most painful trial that the City of Oakland and County of Alameda have ever endured."

RELATED: Judge sets April 2 trial date in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire case

Between now and the trial date in April, a judge will consider two motions in the Ghost Ship case.

The first involves Serra's request to have the original plea agreement re-instated; the deal that was thrown out by Judge Cramer last month.

RELATED: Father of young Ghost Ship Fire victim: 'No way' defendants aren't guilty

A second motion to move the Ghost Ship trial out of Alameda County will be heard by another judge in November.

"My client, from my perspective, has been falsely compared with Charles Manson, you know, some kind of a killer," said Serra. "So he has in my view been assassinated by the press."

For for full coverage on the investigation into Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship Fire, visit this page.

VIDEO: Remembering the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire victims
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Take a moment to remember the creative souls we lost in the Ghost Ship Fire.

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