Ghost Ship Trial: Max Harris says back stairs weren't blocked

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- In a contentious cross-examination, Alameda County prosecutor Autrey James tried to get Ghost Ship defendant Max Harris to admit he was calling many of the shots at the Ghost Ship.

Harris has admitted to calling himself the "executive director" of the artists collective but said that was more of a joke.

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

When asked about the fateful night of Dec. 2 2016, James grilled Harris about why he didn't point out the building's exits to arriving concert-goers:

"The exits were clear. I never felt the need to have someone stand by the door and point," Harris told the jury.

Thirty-six people died that night, all but one from smoke inhalation, unable to get out in time from the second floor.

"The prosecutor is trying to bully him into using certain terms and phrases as a desperate attempt to try to get a conviction," said Harris' attorney, Curtis Briggs.

Among those watching Harris' testimony were family and friends of the victims, including Grace Lovio, who lost her partner, Jason McCarty, in the fire.

GHOST SHIP TRIAL: Defense calls witness who says she saw men bragging about fire after it started

"He'll lie and then they'll put up some evidence to catch him in the lie," said Lovio of Harris' testimony. "He's doing it over and over again. I think the worst thing he could've done for his own case is open his mouth. Any of the sympathy any of the family members had for him before. That's gone now."

Harris also testified about his own harrowing escape and efforts to put out the fire with an extinguisher that he called "ineffective." Almena's wife, Micah Allison, is expected to take the stand next week in her husband's defense.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Ghost Ship Fire trial.
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