The man who allegedly killed Cash App founder Bob Lee is set to appear in San Francisco court Monday for a hearing on his potential release on bail. While Nima Momeni’s trial remains months off, according to his legal team, his lawyer provided new details of how the case might unfold.
A handful of people who were with Lee in the last hours of his life, including Momeni’s sister, Khazar Momeni and her husband, as well as expert witnesses, are expected to testify, said Tony Brass, one of Momeni’s attorneys.
“It’s very important for us to give the complete story,” Brass said. “We are not trying to hide anything. If anything, we are trying to tell a complete story about how this incident came about.”
Prosecutor Omid Talai has alleged that Nima Momeni took the tech executive to a secluded street under the Bay Bridge in the early morning hours of April 4 and stabbed him twice, which resulted in his death hours later in a hospital. Momeni was allegedly upset because Lee let his sister do "inappropriate" things the day before at the home of Lee’s alleged drug dealer, Jeremy Boivin, according to court documents.
But Nima Momeni’s attorneys argued in a filing in September that the facts of the case do not amount to a cold-blooded killing and that their client is not a danger to the public.
Brass, the local attorney on the case—which has been led by Saam Zangeneh and Bradford Cohen, who do not practice law in California—said that once a date has been set, each side has to share their witnesses with each other.
The defense, or the prosecution, will likely call everyone to the stand who took part in the preliminary hearing, including Khazar Momeni and her husband, Dr. Dino Elyassnia, who were both subpoenaed but did not testify at the preliminary hearing, Brass said.
The other expected witnesses, Brass said, include everyone who spent any time with Lee in the hours before his death. That would include Boivin, who witnesses said gave Khazar Momeni drugs the day before Lee was killed during a party at Boivin's apartment where Lee was present. The woman who called Khazar Momeni’s husband and brother to come and get her from the party could also testify.
“We are trying to establish the relationship between Bob and Boivin,” Brass said. “He’s the designer drug dealer to the stars.”
Other potential witnesses could include a friend of Lee's who overheard an argument between Nima Momeni and Lee about Khazar Momeni doing "inappropriate" things that day.
All of these witnesses will help the jury see what had been happening in the lead-up to the killing and are as likely to be called by the prosecution as much as the defense, Brass said.
“It’s not about tearing down Bob Lee,” Brass said, adding that he has no doubt that people knew him as a kind and gentle man. But anyone on the amount of cocaine and drugs that Lee was would not have acted like their usual self, he added.
“This was either a serious bender or a guy who was using on a very high level,” Brass said.
Additionally, he expects witnesses and the case’s main homicide investigator, Brent Dittmer, to be called back to the stand.
“More than anything, we need experts to do their work analyzing and offering their opinions about how SFPD processed the physical evidence,” Brass said.
Nima Momeni’s mother, Mahnaz Tayarani, has appeared in court for nearly every hearing and is expected to attend the trial.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org