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Momeni attorney apologizes to slain tech executive Bob Lee's family for courthouse comments

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nima Momeni's defense attorney Paula Canny issued an apology Thursday for courthouse comments she made while referring to the autopsy report of slain tech executive Bob Lee which revealed he had alcohol, cocaine and ketamine in his system.

Canny characterized the report as showing "Lee's system was like the Walgreens of recreational drugs."

The remarks triggered an avalanche of criticism from Lee's family and friends. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins was also critical of the comments, telling reporters Canny's comments were a common tactic by defense attorneys to shift blame on victims of crime. 

"At this point, regardless of whether somebody has or has not done drugs, that does not give someone a license to kill them," Jenkins said.

Through a public relations firm, Canny issued a public apology.

"I apologize for my remarks to the press following Tuesday's court appearance, especially to Bob Lee's family, friends, and loved ones. I regret that I characterized the autopsy toxicology screen in such an insensitive and cavalier way. I was out of line and wrong. I am sorry."

For the first time since Lee's death, his ex-wife Krista Lee spoke publicly and expressed her frustration with the delays in the case. Momeni's arraignment has now been pushed back until May 18.

Momeni is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of using a knife in the April 4 stabbing death of Lee.   

"Very disappointed," she told reporters after being asked about the delay.

Time is what the defense is seeking as they build their case to prove Momeni's anticipated plea of not guilty.

"Of course, we're pleading not guilty because he's not guilty," Canny said.

Jenkins is expected to file a motion to detain Momeni, citing him being a flight risk and risk to the public.

Prosecutors accuse Momeni of driving the tech mogul to a secluded spot in San Francisco's East Cut/Rincon Hill neighborhood and stabbing him over a dispute related to the suspect's sister.  

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A witness said Momeni and Lee had previously argued about whether Momeni's sister Khazar Elyassnia had been doing drugs while in Lee's company that evening.

Canny indicated last week that drugs were a part of this case.

"Based on my investigation, I know there's a lot of drugs involved with people other than my client. I know there is lots of drugs," she said.

Court documents released last month included a text message to Lee hours after his stabbing death from Momeni's sister Elyassnia that expressed concern about Lee's welfare because 'I know nima came wayyyyy down hard on you." 

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