Ghost Ship defense team still hopes for verdict

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After a disruptive and stunning start to the week, the clock has restarted in the Ghost Ship Trial deliberations.

Three new jurors -- alternates -- have joined nine original jurors for their third day of deliberations. In the meantime, court records show defense attorneys for Derick Almena verbally moved for a mistrial at least once and may file a formal written motion as soon as Wednesday.

That said, Almena's attorneys still say they're hopeful the reconstituted jury reaches a verdict although Tony Serra, Almena's lead attorney, took a long pause when asked by ABC7 News if he'd prefer a mistrial or a verdict at this point.

TIMELINE: How the investigation into the deadly Ghost Ship fire unfolded

"A verdict, but it's hard," said Serra. "I have to infer that there are jurors who are for and against, and therefore there is the probability/possibility that there is a hung jury, which is a mistrial. When you say what do you want? I want a verdict of not guilty."

Attorneys for Almena's co-defendant Max Harris seem more clear on what they would like to see from this jury at this point in the trial.

"This process takes a lot of stamina, emotional and physical stamina," explained Curtis Briggs. "Mr. Harris faces 39 years in prison and he's obviously very scared of that, but he's also felt very comfortable with his life in the hands of this jury."

The seven women and five men are deciding whether the founder of the artists' collective, Almena and the self-described "creative director" Harris are guilty on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

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That's how many people died during a concert at the warehouse on Dec. 2, 2016. The trial itself has lasted nearly four months.

If the jury does not reach a verdict Wednesday, they will not resume deliberations until after the Labor Day holiday. Beyond that, three jurors have vacations booked in September and Judge Trina Thompson said she will decide how to handle each of those at a later date.
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