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Nima Momeni’s lawyer: Bob Lee’s alleged killer not flight risk

A sketch shows Nima Momeni, in gray silhouette, making his first court appearance. | Vicki Behringer

The attorney for Bob Lee’s accused killer, Nima Momeni, said her client is not a flight risk and that there is more to the story than San Francisco prosecutors have claimed.

Momeni is suspected of fatally stabbing Cash App creator Lee early April 4 after an argument about the Momeni’s sister, court documents say.

“My client is a super nice person. His family loves him and supports him,” Paula Canny told NBC Bay Area. “There is so much more to this and a much greater backstory than is disclosed.”

Momeni was arrested Thursday at his Emeryville home by San Francisco police officers.

From left, Khazar Momeni and husband Dr. Dino Elyassnia | Vincent Gotti

Court documents allege that Momeni and Lee had a dispute before the stabbing about drug use and other “inappropriate” behavior with the suspect’s sister Khazar Momeni, which Lee assured him was not the case. 

Canny told NBC her client is not a flight risk and requested his arraignment be moved to April 25 when she is back in the country. She said he intends to enter a not guilty plea. Momeni made his first court appearance on Friday and exchanged heart-shaped hand gestures with his family across the courtroom. 

A courtroom sketch shows Nima Momeni, in gray silhouette, making heart signs to his family during his first court appearance. | Vicki Behringer

Momeni allegedly stabbed Lee three times, puncturing Lee’s heart, after the pair were caught on video leaving the Millennium Tower, where Momeni’s sister, Khazar Momeni, and her plastic surgeon husband, Dr. Dino Elyassnia, own a home. 

Lee and Nima Momeni were captured on video leaving the building in a white BMW, which stopped near Main and Harrison streets under the Bay Bridge where Momeni allegedly stabbed Lee, who was later seen in video stumbling around the intersection seeking help, court documents say. Lee was found unconscious by police and later died in the hospital. 

Canny said she could not comment further on the case as she has yet to see the evidence against her client. 

Robert Canny, the stand-in attorney for Paula Canny, who will be representing Nima Momeni, addresses the press after Momeni's first appearance in court. | Justin Katigbak for The Standard

Canny is a well-known Bay Area defense attorney who represented the likes of Barry Bonds’ training partner, Greg Anderson, when he refused to testify against the baseball player in a case related to performance-enhancing drugs he allegedly gave Bonds. Canny also represented the wife of former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in his domestic violence case. More recently, she represented a number of women who sued California sheriff's departments who failed to provide the women with appropriate sanitary products. 

Nima Momeni was arrested at his Emeryville condo in the Besler Building on Thursday, April 14, on suspicion of killing tech executive Bob Lee. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

What Nima Momeni was doing between the stabbing and his arrest nine days later remains largely unclear, but a resident who lives on the same floor as Momeni said that around 12:30 p.m. on the day of the killing, Momeni called them and asked if they could bring him liquor. The resident said they brought him five bottles.

"He called and he said, 'Do you have any liquor? Could you bring it over?'" the resident said.

Throughout the next 10 days leading up to the arrest, the resident saw Momeni around his home a few times.

"He seemed not very coherent," the resident said. "He seemed a little high, but I assumed he was drinking a lot."

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at
Garrett Leahy can be reached at