It was pretty clear from moment one in the Bob Lee murder case that drugs were going to be pretty central to the narrative of how Lee ended up stabbed at 2:30 a.m. on April 4. But thus far we've mostly only heard about Lee's drug use.
Reactions were swift to a toxicology report released last week that showed the 43-year-old Cash App founder had cocaine and ketamine in his system — the popular drug combo nicknamed Calvin Klein which many a San Franciscan on the party scene is no doubt familiar with. Defense attorney Paula Canny, who is defending accused killer Nima Momeni, went before a bevy of news cameras the same day the report came out joking that Lee had a "Walgreens of recreational drugs" in his system — and she later apologized for these "cavalier" comments.
But now Mission Local has a story based on statements and accounts from friends and associates of Momeni, some of them anonymous, who paint a picture of a 38-year-old whose IT business was not so successful, and whose alleged drug use was impairing both his ability to run his business and his personal relationships.
"He stopped hanging out with the people who were more positive influences in his life," says Jenna Leske, a Burning Man friend of Momeni who tells Mission Local that she and her husband hadn't seen Momeni, whom they once hung out with regularly, in several years. Leske's husband described the man he knew as "a very peaceful, kind person."
A friend who remained anonymous for the piece told Mission Local that Momeni had "a massive drug problem that made him unable to reason and speak" on some occasions. And other friends suggested that drug use was to blame for Momeni's business, Expand IT, allegedly starting to unravel.
Former girlfriends quoted in the piece said Momeni had an abusive father whom he hated, and that may have "created a monster." One anonymous woman tells Mission Local, "He was not nice behind closed doors," and he "called me probably the worst names I’ve ever been called." And a police report out of Emeryville from a woman who claimed Momeni had roughed her up last year suggested "he may be bipolar."
While this other detail may be more symptomatic of our entire country's political chaos, there is one possibly telling thing Mission Local dug up about Momeni's contradictory politics — he gave just under $4,000 in 2016 to Bernie Sanders and other Democratic causes, but by 2020 he was giving about the same amount to get Trump reelected.
We still haven't heard what Momeni's alleged drug of choice was — was it, like Lee, cocaine? An initial filing by the prosecution in the case suggested that Momeni was upset the day before the murder and questioned Lee about whether he had given drugs to his sister, whom friends say Momeni was extremely protective of. And Lee's relationship to Momeni's married sister, or whatever transpired during a Monday afternoon party, appears to be at the heart of the case.
Canny responded to Mission Local's inquiry about his drug use, saying, "I don’t think that he had a drug problem, a serious drug problem. Based on the info that I have, I certainly wouldn’t classify him as a drug addict."
Momeni is due back in court for an arraignment — now delayed three times — next week, on May 18.