Somewhat predictably, since the suspect in the April 4 stabbing of CashApp founder Bob Lee has just recently obtained new legal counsel, the preliminary hearing in the case has been delayed another six weeks.
It's been two weeks since murder suspect Nima Momeni and his defense attorney Paula Canny "mutually parted ways" — or at least that is how it's been characterized. (Canny shouting "You'll miss me!" in the courtroom kind of suggests she was fired.) And we may never know the reason why that relationship failed to launch.
Momeni instead retained a Miami-based defense lawyer, Saam Zangeneh, who advertises himself as "100% Persian" — Momeni is also of Persian descent — and legal experts have surmised that Zangeneh would likely want more time before a preliminary hearing, given he is so new to the case.
That is, indeed, the case, and as KPIX reports, there was a brief hearing Tuesday morning in San Francisco Superior Court in which the defense asked for the preliminary hearing to be delayed until July 31.
This is one of multiple delays in the court proceeding so far, with Momeni's arraignment having been delayed several times under Canny's tenure. Had she continued to serve as defense counsel, presumably the preliminary hearing, in which evidence is presented on both sides to determine the merits of the case, would have taken place on May 30.
Canny had previously characterized the stabbing as a "combination self-defense and an accident," and she claimed that Momeni had no idea that Lee was mortally wounded when they walked away from each other.
Lee reportedly had a five-inch deep stab wound to the chest that pierced his heart, in addition to another wound — and a five-inch wound from a four-inch kitchen knife suggests some level of force. The kitchen knife, investigators say, is the same uncommon brand that was found in a set in the kitchen of Momeni's sister, in whose Millennium Tower condo the two men had been just 30 minutes before the stabbing.
Prosecutors' theory of the case is that Momeni was likely upset about some romantic relationship between his married sister and Lee, who was in town for several days after recently moving to Miami. And they have a witness claiming that Momeni had confronted Lee earlier in the day about whether drugs were shared or whether "inappropriate" relations had occurred.
As Mission Local reports, Momeni's Tuesday court appearance came with "a cadre of five lawyers," including Florida attorneys Zangeneh and Bradford Cohen — who are reportedly still awaiting approval to practice law in California. "They have three California lawyers assisting them," Mission Local reports, "well-known San Francisco attorney Tony Brass, Zoe Aaron, and Douglas Horngrad."
Zangeneh has reportedly said, per Mission Local, that he was hired after he offered some unsolicited advice in the case to a friend or family member of Momeni.
Momeni's mother, Mahnaz Tayarani Babai, his sister Khazar Momeni, and brother-in-law Dino Elyassnia, were all reportedly in court on Tuesday to support him.
"When the family was asked in the court hallway whether they were happy with their new defense team, Zangeneh interjected: 'Of course they are!'" as Mission Local reports.
Top image: Nima Momeni arrives in court at the Hall of Justice on May 18, 2023 in San Francisco, California. 38 year-old tech entrepreneur Nima Momeni was arraigned today in a San Francisco courtroom in connection with the stabbing murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee. Momeni pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. (Photo by Paul Kuroda-Pool/Getty Images)