Murder suspect Nima Momeni made another court appearance today, and agreed to schedule his preliminary hearing for May 30, the day after Memorial Day. And we now know that Momeni's attorney plans to argue this was a case of self-defense.
Also today, we get the release of some of the surveillance images that show Momeni with Bob Lee about a half hour before the stabbing occurred, early in the morning on April 4. Prosecutors said shortly after Momeni's arrest that they had images of Lee and Momeni together in an elevator at Millennium Tower, and exiting the building. Now, as NBC Bay Area was first to report, we get a look at those images.
The first image, timestamped 12:39 a.m., shows Lee entering Millennium Tower, where Momeni's sister, Khazar Elyassnia, has a condo. The next image, timestamped just before 2 a.m., appears to show Lee holding a beverage while in an elevator with Momeni. The two can then be seen in subsequent images exiting the building and getting into Momeni's car, a white BMW.
There are also some grainy images from a different camera on Main Street that prosecutors say show Lee after the stabbing, stumbling to find help, and approaching a Toyota sedan which we know sped off.
Lee was then found suffering from multiple stab wounds — including one we know that punctured his heart — outside the Portside II condominium building, where he was seen collapsing on surveillance video.
Momeni entered a plea of not guilty last week, and the judge in the case declined to release him on bail.
In speaking to reporters, Momeni's attorney Paula Canny has suggested both that Lee and Momeni "appeared fine" when they parted ways that early morning, and that Lee's stab wounds were acts of self-defense. (There's no explanation yet for why Momeni didn't take Lee back to his hotel, the One Hotel on the Embarcadero, where presumably he wanted to go.)
In the Twitter video below, you can ABC 7's Melanie Woodrow buttonholing Canny at the courthouse last week to ask why, if it was self-defense, Momeni had not immediately called police and said he'd been in a fight that ended with a stabbing. Canny gives a somewhat odd response, saying "I know what happened, and I know why what happened happened... and hypothetically answering [your question], if two people fight and neither one of them thinks the other's hurt... why didn't Mr. Lee immediately call and say I was just attacked by someone."
Woodrow replies, "He called 911."
And Canny says, "He called 911 several minutes later and he failed to identify who had attacked him, who the person was."
Nima Momeni's preliminary hearing was potentially set for 5/30 today. Afterwards, his attorney Paula Canny again told reporters that Momeni stabbed tech exec/founder Bob Lee in self-defense. I had some questions about that. Canny's responses here: pic.twitter.com/rP9UmS0IwL— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) May 19, 2023