Monday's preliminary hearing in the trial of Bob Lee's accused killer Nima Momeni saw his new defense team questioning a key piece of evidence, the kitchen knife that prosecutors say was the murder weapon and that Momeni disposed of near the crime scene.
Maybe it's smart when the evidence is so stacked against your client that you have to choose a major piece of the prosecutors' case and try to pick it apart as best you can. It's going to be hard, it sounds like, to deny that Momeni had motive and opportunity to fatally stab Lee, and the video evidence of them leaving Millennium Tower — where Momeni's sister lives — and getting into Momeni's car together moments before the stabbing is pretty damning.
But defense attorney Saam Zangeneh immediately homed in on the four-inch kitchen knife that police say they found near a fence, which they say has Momeni's DNA on the handle and Lee's DNA on the blade. As the Chronicle reports, at today's hearing — the first two days of hearings to determine if there is ample evidence to go to trial — Zangeneh first questioned why no fingerprint evidence had been pulled from the knife.
Crime scene investigator Rosalyn Check, per the Chronicle, testified that she did not try to pull a fingerprint from the knife in order not to contaminate any DNA samples.
The knife is, allegedly, part of a set of an uncommon brand that Momeni's sister, Khazar Elyassnia, had in her kitchen.
Prosecutors have presented grainy video footage that they say shows the moment of the stabbing, shows Lee stumbling away up the street, and shows Momeni going over to the fence where the knife was later found.
Momeni's previous attorney Paula Canny suggested to reporters that the video footage was not compelling, and she had tried to characterize the altercation between Lee and Momeni as "a combination of self-defense and an accident."
The defense team further questioned why a homeless man who was reportedly sleeping on the street about 40 feet from the crime scene was apparently not questioned.
Update: As Mission Local reports from the courtroom, defense attorneys also brought up a new name, Jeremy Boivin, as the romantic interest of Momeni's sister who he was most concerned about. The attorneys said that Boivin had been hanging around with Lee and Momeni earlier in the day. The defense also questioned the "honor killing" narrative and called it incorrect.
Top image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 18: 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)