Nima Momeni’s attorney argued in new court filings that her client should be released from jail and that the facts of the murder case against him for allegedly killing tech executive Bob Lee, whom he’d known for several years, do not support the claims made by police and prosecutors.
Defense attorney Paula Canny wrote in a Monday court filing that the narrative created by law enforcement against Momeni—who is set to appear in court for his arraignment Thursday—was built on faulty foundations and does not prove that her client killed Bob Lee in the early hours of April 4.
“The last time Momeni saw Lee he was walking upright,” she wrote, characterizing the facts as recited by police as “art.”
Her motion also details the tragic last moments of Lee’s life, including that the car that Lee approached after he was stabbed was a ride-sharing vehicle he had called. Video reviewed by The Standard showed Lee lifting his shirt in what looked like a plea for help before the car drove off.
Prosecutors said video showed Lee and Nima Momeni leave the Millennium Tower, the home of Momeni’s sister and Lee’s friend, Khazar Momeni, and get into a white BMW. Sometime later, a white BMW was caught on video near the Main and Harrison street location of the fatal stabbing. Two figures get out of the car and then have some kind of brief close contact before one walks away and the other gets into the BMW and leaves.
But Canny argued that instead of interviewing key players in the case—including Momeni himself—police spent eight days after the killing creating a compilation video made up of that fuzzy surveillance footage, which she said the case relies on too heavily. The video is too blurry to ID either Momeni or Lee, she wrote.
During that period, Momeni did not flee; instead, he remained at his home, further proof of his innocence, the lawyer said. She also contended that Lee’s three stab wounds indicated his attacker may have acted in self-defense.
Canny also claims other evidence from the scene undercuts the case.
“If a person wants to kill another person, why would the assailant allow the person they are trying to kill, walk away. They would not. They would stab them in the back. They would not let them walk away,” she wrote. Canny also points out that Lee never says Momeni’s name in the 911 call he made on April 4.
Canny demanded that her client be released with conditions due to his lack of violent convictions and his deep links to the Bay Area, where he has lived since 1999.
“The letters filed as an exhibit made clear that the defendant is a beloved son, friend, sibling, and was a well regarded and respected friend,” she wrote.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org