CRIME

Suspect in Cash App founder killing makes court appearance

Apr 14, 2023, 11:50 AM

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, second from left, answers questions from reporters during...

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, second from left, answers questions from reporters during a press conference where officials announced the arrest of a suspect in the homicide investigation of Robert Lee, Thursday, April 13, 2023, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The 38-year-old tech consultant charged with the murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee made his first appearance in a San Francisco courtroom Friday but did not enter a plea.

Nima Momeni, who police say knew Lee, is now scheduled to be arraigned April 25.

The judge ordered Momeni held in jail without bail, as requested by San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. He faces 26 years to life in prison, the prosecutor’s office said.

Momeni appeared in court in an orange sweatshirt and pants. He did not speak except to say, “Yes your honor,” when the judge asked if he agreed to decline his right to a speedy trial.

He is represented by Burlingame attorney Paula Canny, who is on vacation and whose brother Robert Canny, also an attorney, appeared in her place Friday. “The facts of what occurred, or didn’t occur, will come out over time,” he told reporters after the hearing.

When Momeni entered the courtroom, he nodded at a woman sitting near his sister Khazar Elyassnia and her husband.

On Thursday, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott announced Momeni’s arrest and said that the two men knew each other but declined to elaborate on their connection. He also refused to disclose a possible motive.

The stabbing death of Lee shocked the tech industry, with friends and former colleagues mourning a man they described as brilliant, gregarious and a doting father to his two children.

Lee had recently moved to Miami with his father and was back in San Francisco for business when police found him with stab wounds in the downtown Rincon Hill neighborhood at 2:30 a.m. April 4. He died at a hospital.

Lee is known for creating the widely used mobile payment service Cash App while working as chief technology officer of the payment company Square, now known as Block.

On his LinkedIn profile, Momeni describes himself as an “IT Consultant/Entrepreneur” as well as the owner of a company called Expand IT, described as an information technology consulting business in state filings.

Criminal records show Momeni was charged in 2011 for carrying a switchblade, a misdemeanor offense. The case was dismissed the following year after he took a plea.

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Suspect in Cash App founder killing makes court appearance