ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Ghost Ship Fire defendant Max Harris will try to separate case from Derick Almena's, per lawyer

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There are more shake-ups expected in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire case. Max Harris' attorney says he intends to make a motion to sever his client's case from Derick Almena's case. (Photo by Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

There are more shake-ups expected in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire case. Max Harris' attorney says he intends to make a motion to sever his client's case from Derick Almena's case.

RELATED: Attorney for families of Ghost Ship victims 'pleased' with plea deal rejection

"Based on the amount of prejudicial publicity that's been directed towards Mr. Almena, we don't want to water down Mr. Harris' statement to the public and to the families, he took accountability," said Briggs during a recorded Facetime interview with ABC7 News.

On Friday, Judge James Cramer said Almena wasn't remorseful enough. He rejected the co-defendants plea deal. In exchange for no contest pleas to involuntary manslaughter, Almena was going to get nine years in jail and Harris six.

"In my opinion, the judge was telling me that the case should be dealt with separately," said Briggs.

EXCLUSIVE: Ghost Ship founder blasts judge after deal rejected

Briggs says he'll mention his plans to make the motion in Friday's hearing, but he says it will take several weeks to prepare the motion.

Friday is also a big day for Almena's attorneys.


Brian Getz says they need to decide whether to make a motion to request a change of venue for a possible trial.

"I'm thinking about it hard, I don't know," said Getz. Getz says the decision will be a close call.

RELATED: Almena's lack of remorse likely reason judge rejected Ghost Ship Fire plea deal, legal expert says

"We could ask for a change of venue and get a trial in Orange County, which in our experience is a much more republican, rigid, narrow minded group of people compared to what you have in Alameda County," said Getz.

In an exclusive interview with ABC7 News Monday from Santa Rita jail, Almena said he doubted he could get a fair trial in Alameda County now.

"How am I going to find a jury that hasn't heard me say OK, I'm guilty, I'm guilty for allowing this to happen," said Almena via video hookup.

Regardless of whether Almena's attorneys make a motion to change venues, Getz says a new plea deal is still a possibility, just likely not by Friday.

ABC7 News reached out to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. A spokesperson said they are waiting until after court on Friday to comment.

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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ghost ship firefatal firedeadly firefirecourt casecourttrialcrimeOakland
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