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.
Momeni’s sister, Khazar Elyassnia, and her husband Dino Elyassnia, a San Francisco plastic surgeon, along with two family members, sat in the front row at the hearing. When Momeni entered the courtroom, an older woman made a heart sign with her hands and Momeni, who was wearing a face mask, smiled and nodded at them.
The family declined to answer reporters’ questions.
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.