Dunwoody: Witnesses vouch for Andrea Sneiderman
Andrea Sneiderman listens during her Aug. 21 bond hearing. Photo courtesy of CBS Atlanta
A different picture of Andrea Sneiderman appeared in court at her Aug. 21 bond hearing as friends and relatives portrayed her as a kind-hearted mother, loyal friend and hard worker.
“She’s the best mother ever,” testified Joanne Powers, a close friend of Sneiderman’s. “She’s very loving and caring and calm. Sometimes I’m really amazed at her patience. She’s a wonderful mother.”
Her rabbi, Hirsch Minkowicz, said she is active in the synagogue, often taking the lead to volunteer for community projects.
Sneiderman’s father, Herbert Greenberg, described her as “a model child” and a “total rule follower.” He said his daughter is well-liked and keeps in touch with friends from Chicago, Boston and Ohio in addition to her friends in Atlanta. “She has, of all the people we know, the largest circle of friends,” Greenberg said.
Over the past year, lawyers have portrayed Sneiderman in court as a cold, calculating manipulator during the trial of the man convicted of murdering her husband.
In March, Hemy Neuman was found guilty but mentally ill in the slaying of Rusty Sneiderman. Neuman was sentenced to life in prison without parole. During Neuman’s trial, lawyers on both sides pointed to Andrea Sneiderman as a co-conspirator, saying she manipulated Neuman into killing her husband.
On Aug. 21, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams agreed to let Andrea Sneiderman out of jail on $500,000 bond.
He put several conditions on her release. If she is able to pay the bond, half of which must be in cash, she is to live under house arrest at her parent’s Roswell home. She would be monitored by an ankle bracelet and must surrender her passport and the passports of her children.
Sneiderman has been at the DeKalb County Jail since Aug. 2 after a grand jury indicted her on eight counts including murder, racketeering and perjury in connection with the murder of her husband, Rusty Sneiderman. The Dunwoody businessman was shot on Nov. 18, 2010 outside of their son’s preschool.
The indictment alleges Andrea Sneiderman was having an affair with Neuman, her boss, and conspired with him to kill her husband and collect his $2 million life insurance policy. Andrea Sneiderman has denied having an affair with Neuman and any involvement in her husband’s death.
Andrea Sneiderman’s defense team called on a variety of character witnesses to illustrate that she would cooperate with the legal process, would not interfere with witnesses and would not attempt to flee if she is released from prison.
Lawyers brought in a range of people in Andrea Sneiderman’s life, including her father, rabbi, a sorority sister, a close friend of Rusty Sneiderman’s and the room mother at her children’s preschool to testify that she is a law abiding citizen who would never leave her family.
The prosecution hinged its argument that she should remain in jail on the testimony of Jay Abt, an attorney representing Andrea Sneiderman’s friend Shayna Citron.
Abt said following Citron’s testimony at Neuman’s trial, Andrea Sneiderman told her they could no longer be friends.
Citron challenged Andrea Sneiderman’s story when she told the court that Sneiderman knew her husband had been shot before she arrived at the hospital. As Citron left the courtroom, Andrea got up and hugged her – a move that led to her being banned from the courtroom for the remainder of the trial.
Sneiderman’s attorneys argued that Abt’s fuzzy memory of the event was not enough to indicate that Andrea Sneiderman would interfere with witnesses.
Sneiderman’s attorney Tom Clegg said he expects to fully exonerate her at trial.
“She is anxious to have her day in court. She ain’t going anywhere,” Clegg said.
Clegg said Sneiderman has never tried to run away, even though she was well aware that she could be arrested — especially in light of the accusations against her during Neuman’s trial.
“There was little subtlety involved in those comments,” Clegg said. “If she didn’t know … she was simply not paying attention.”
But Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary argued that after seeing Neuman sentenced to life in prison, Andrea Sneiderman has more reason to flee.
“She’s had a preview of what’s coming,” Geary said. “The second phase has started. She sees what’s coming and has the incentive.”
Adams set Sneiderman’s arraignment for Sept. 6.