SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tech consultant Nima Momeni will stand trial for murder in the stabbing death of Cash App founder Bob Lee, a San Francisco judge ordered Tuesday.
Lee’s violent death shocked the tech community as fellow executives and engineers praised his generosity, curiosity and leadership skills. He was 43 and chief product officer of cryptocurrency platform MobileCoin when he died.
Saam Zangeneh, one of Momeni’s four defense lawyers, argued unsuccessfully in court Tuesday that there might be enough evidence for a manslaughter charge, but not murder. Zangeneh said they made the argument just for purposes of the preliminary hearing.
“We are not agreeing that our client is guilty of any crime,” he said in an email after the hearing.
Prosecutors have said that Momeni planned the April 4 attack that left a bloody Lee staggering on a deserted downtown San Francisco street seeking help. They say Momeni, 38, drove Lee to a secluded area, stabbed him three times with a knife and then drove off in a hurry after a dispute over the defendant’s sister.
Over two days, the prosecution presented technical video and forensic evidence showing that Lee was last seen getting into a car driven by Momeni and a bloodied knife was found near a spot where the two men got out of the car.
A crime lab criminalist with the San Francisco Police Department testified Tuesday that Lee’s DNA was found on the blade of the knife but not the handle, and Momeni’s DNA was found on the handle.
San Francisco police said they responded to reports of a stabbing in the city’s Rincon Hill neighborhood at 2:35 a.m. Lee was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Lawyers for Momeni have said that their client had no reason to kill Lee and the two men were cordial. They said Momeni’s anger was directed at another person and not at Lee.