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Defense Rests In Ghost Ship Trial After Final Day Of Almena Testimony

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- A major chapter in the Ghost Ship trial ended Thursday with the defense resting their case after a final day of testimony from one of the defendants.

After a fourth and final day on the stand, Ghost Ship master tenant Derick Almena finished being cross examined by prosecutors and the defense rested in the case. Tony Serra, Almena's defense attorney compared prosecutor's cross examination to water torture.

"I think my client did extremely well. Very arduous. Rapid-fire machine gun cross examination, the same question over and over and over again. A methodology that the judge should have intervened on," said Serra outside of the courtroom.

Curtis Briggs, the attorney for Almena's co-defendant Max Harris, said Alameda County is deflecting blame from themselves and other in the December 2, 2016 deaths of 36 people inside the warehouse by prosecuting Almena and Harris.

"If the theory is what happened at that warehouse caused these deaths, then the people responsible should be brought to trial in their entirety, in their totality. That didn't happen. These men have never had a fair trial," said Briggs.

Not making an appearance on the stand were the Ghost Ship warehouse owners and electricians who worked on the property. In re-direct questioning Thursday afternoon, prosecutors once again played body camera video from the Oakland Police Department where Almena was told he needed conditional use permits to run parties in the warehouse.

Prosecutors also got Almena to admit he hadn't fully read all of the paperwork on the warehouse.

"I'm harkened to the words of T.S. Eliot, where he says, 'This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.' And this is the way the case ended for the prosecution - not with a bang, but a whimper," said Serra.

Court will be back in session on Monday for rebuttal evidence, which is only expected to last a day. Closing arguments will begin on July 29th and the jury is expected to get the case for deliberations on August 5th.

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