SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The man accused of stabbing and killing Cash App founder Bob Lee was back in a San Francisco courtroom Tuesday, and the lead defense attorney stepped down from the case.
Nima Momeni, 38, of Emeryville, is currently being held without the option for bail on one count of murder. Momeni’s attorney, Paula Canny, filed a motion to withdraw from the case for a conflict of interest, and she says she is legally barred from sharing what that conflict is.
Momeni also waived his 10-day right to a speedy preliminary trial on Tuesday. His arraignment previously faced delays when Canny requested additional time to review Lee’s autopsy and the police reports.
Canny faced criticism for her comments to reporters when it was revealed that Lee was on several “party drugs” at the time of his death. As reporters asked for clarification about why Momeni had not yet entered a plea and the results of Lee’s toxicology reports, Canny said, “There’s a lot of drugs in Bob Lee’s system. I mean, Bob Lee’s system is like the Walgreens of recreational drugs. Every recreational drug that a person could take was in (Bob Lee’s) system.”
Canny later shared a written apology for her statement, “I apologize for my remarks to the press following Tuesday’s court appearance, especially to Bob Lee’s family, friends, and loved ones. I regret that I characterized the autopsy toxicology screen in such an insensitive and cavalier way. I was out of line and wrong. I am sorry.”
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The prosecution team argues that on the night of April 4, Momeni drove Lee to a dark spot near the Embarcadero before stabbing him with a kitchen knife and fleeing the scene and leaving Lee to die. Later that night, Lee’s last moments alive were caught on video. Momeni was arrested nine days later at his home.
The prosecution team says that Momeni had a confrontation with Lee over Momeni’s younger sister, Khazar Elyassnia. Elyassani was present at Momeni’s first court appearance.
Lee has been a notable name in tech since he founded Cash App in 2013. Momeni was also involved in the tech world–he founded a tech and security company in the East Bay.
Momeni faced accusations of assault from a woman in the summer of 2022. His accuser told police, “She believes that he may be bipolar because one minute he will be fine and the next he will go off for no reason,” an officer wrote in the report.
Momeni will be back in court on the morning of June 13. He has retained an attorney from Florida named Saam Zangeneh to take over his case, the attorney’s office confirmed to KRON4. Zangeneh has previously represented other high-profile defendants, including athletes and rappers such as Kodak Black.