Ghost Ship founder gets combative during court testimonyOakland Warehouse Fire Ghost Ship E1595177363403

Ghost Ship founder gets combative during court testimony

Ghost Ship founder Thomas Almena grew combative in court on Monday, July 8 during testimony about his involvement in the 2016 fire at the Oakland warehouse that killed 36 people.

Almena and Ghost Ship’s creative director Max Harris each face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the negligence that led to the deaths of three dozen party-goers in the worst fire in the history of Oakland, California.

Almena’s testimony was largely remorseful and full of regret, until prosecutor Autrey James leaned on a statement made to police a year before the incident to question the defendant’s credibility. Tempers flared and Almeda became combative as his defending lawyer called the line of questioning a “character assassination.”

“It is obviously wise to never be combative…” Almeda’s lawyer said to the press outside of the courtroom. “…Keep in mind, he hasn’t slept in three days. He’s up there fighting for his life…He does come to court emotionally drained.”

The rest of the testimony didn’t seem to go in Almena’s favor, either. When asked if he had obtained operational permits for assemblies, such as the party where the fire occurred, Almena said “I didn’t know I had to.”

If convicted on all counts, Thomas Almena and Max Harris will receive up to 36 years in prison. Almena’s testimony will continue on Thursday morning, July 11 as the jurors return to court.

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