Ghost Ship warehouse fire jury trial may be moved to different county

Audrey McNamara/File

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A court hearing for defendants in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire case concluded with Alameda County Judge James Cramer ordering parties to reconvene Nov. 2 to hear a motion for a change of venue.

The hearing took place Friday morning at the René C. Davidson Courthouse. The defendants — warehouse tenant Derick Almena and creative director Max Harris — were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Tony Serra, Almena’s defense attorney, postulated that the trial could be held in San Jose, Redwood City or Martinez.

Serra said the reason for the motion for a change of venue was to try to combat the effects of the media’s influence on any potential jurors.

“Potential jurors in Alameda County, for the most part, have absorbed all of the assassination of character attributes manifested in the press of my client,” Serra said. “These other counties are less perceptive.”

Defense attorneys are preparing for trial, which is due to be held next year.

Sabrina Dong covers crime and courts. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Sabrina_Dong_.