Attorneys for Nima Momeni, outside a courtroom. Momeni is accused of killing Bob Lee.
Attorneys for Nima Momeni on Feb. 22, 2024. From left, Zoe Aron, Bradley Cohen, and Saam Zangeneh. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

A hearing on whether to move Nima Momeni’s murder trial out of San Francisco was today delayed until next month. Momeni’s trial date for his alleged killing of Cash App founder Bob Lee was also delayed, and will be scheduled at a later date.

Momeni has pleaded not guilty to killing Lee in April 2023.

His defense attorneys today requested more access to the phone found on Momeni’s person at the time of his arrest, as well as the phone discovered in Lee’s hotel room after he was stabbed to death. Currently, the defense attorneys said, they only have access to a download of two weeks worth of information from what is presumably Momeni’s phone, and nothing at all from Lee’s. 

“They made an allegation that there’s a relationship with Mr. Lee and Nima’s sister, right? They’ve known each other for a long time,” said Saam Zangeneh, Momeni’s lead attorney. “We need to see what’s on that phone.” 

Lee and Momeni left together from a party at Momeni’s sister’s home in the early morning of April 4, 2023, shortly before Lee was stabbed in the Rincon Hill neighborhood. Surveillance-camera footage presented by prosecutors showed the two men standing together for some time near the Bay Bridge, before Momeni was seen driving away as Lee was seen stumbling and bleeding in the street. 

Prosecutors alleged that Momeni may have killed Lee over a relationship between Bob Lee and Nima Momeni’s sister, Khazar Momeni. They pointed to a single text message found on Lee’s phone from Khazar Momeni to suggest there may have been a dispute between the two men. 

“Just wanted to make sure your doing ok Cause I know nima came wayyyyyy down hard on you And thank you for being such a classy man handling it with class Love you Selfish pricks,” Khazar Momeni allegedly wrote in a text message to Lee’s phone. 

A hearing about how much data from the two phones will be released is scheduled for March 5.  

It is unclear why the limited phone evidence has only come to light now, and why evidence from Lee’s phone was never presented to defense attorneys. Bradley Cohen, another of Momeni’s attorneys, said that it was a miscommunication between the two sides. 

“We believed that [prosecutors] were downloading the whole phone, so we kept thinking that there was something wrong with our hard drive,” Cohen said. “We kept reviewing it like, ‘this can’t be the whole phone,’ [and] we kept sending it back.” 

If the contents of the two phones are released to defense attorneys, they would agree to a protective order preventing release of that information to the public.

Attorneys have also claimed that Bob Lee was too beloved and popular in San Francisco for Momeni to get a fair trial here, and have filed a motion to move the hearing to a different jurisdiction. Last month, Momeni’s attorneys already asked for more time before the hearing, after prosecutors responded in opposition.

Zangeneh said that his team is still conducting an “attitudinal survey” asking potential jurors ahead of the change-of-venue hearing. That hearing has now been scheduled for March 15. 

Momeni’s murder trial date will be rescheduled for a future date. 

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REPORTER. Eleni reports on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim more than 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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  1. Unless the cell phone was used in self defense, or as a weapon, then the legal defense is just looking for any disagreement between Lee and anyone whomsoever in order to suggest a ninja appeared at the scene of the crime and left Momeni fleeing in stark racing terror?

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