Andrea Sneiderman pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing Monday morning on charges that she conspired with her former boss, Hemy Neuman, to kill her husband Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman.
Sneiderman was arrested and charged in August with malice murder, attempted murder, insurance fraud, racketeering and two counts each of perjury and false statements. The fraud charge stems from the $2 million in life insurance payments she received shortly after Rusty Sneiderman’s death.
Allegations of an affair with Neuman and a desire to collect on her husband’s life insurance policy are cited as the possible motives for Sneiderman’s alleged involvement in the murder. Andrea Sneiderman has repeatedly denied both accusations.
The quick arraignment hearing Monday, where Andrea Sneiderman pleaded not guilty to the eight charges against her, was held in the same courtroom where Neuman was found guilty and sentenced last March to life in prison for the murder of Rusty Sneiderman.
Monday’s hearing before DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams lasted less than 15 minutes, ending with the Judge’s statement: “Consider Mrs. Sneiderman arraigned.”
The defense now has two months to file motions in the case.
During the arraignment, Judge Adams asked the defense if it wanted a speedy trial. Sneiderman’s attorneys said they did not.
Prosecutors said they expect Sneiderman’s entire trial, from jury selection to verdict, to take roughly the same amount of time as Neuman’s trial took—five weeks.
During Monday’s arraignment, the defense also referred to “wherever we try this case,” an implication the defense will file for a change of venue. Sneiderman is currently scheduled to be tried in the same courtroom of Judge Adams in which Neuman was tried and sentenced.
At the end of the arraignment, prosecutors District Attorney Robert James and Assistant DA Don Geary were seen and overheard discussing the change of venue issue with defense attorneys J. Tom Morgan and John Petrey. The Crier overhead Geary say, “Savannah doesn’t work.” Whether Savannah was mentioned by the defense as a possible alternate trial site is not known.
According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discovery evidence recently filed by prosecutors in the case against Andrea Sneiderman indicates a case similar to the one brought against Neuman.
More than 9,000 pages of evidence, along with 91 discs containing interviews, audio and video records, were shared by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office with the defense team on Tuesday. Many of the same witnesses who testified in the Neuman trial are referenced in the filings, and prosecutors have subpoenaed video of Sneiderman’s entire testimony, the AJC reported.
On the surface, there appears to be little new evidence, according to the AJC report, such as a “smoking gun” proving the alleged conspiracy, in the latest filings. But discovery evidence is typically vague, the AJC article said.
A gag order placed on attorneys representing the state and Sneiderman prohibits them from commenting on developments in the case.
After being arrested in August, Andrea Sneiderman was released on bond but placed under house arrest in late August and has been living with her parents at their new residence in Johns Creek.
Sneiderman also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her late husband’s family. On Friday, Sneiderman asked a Fulton County Superior Court judge to dismiss the wrongful death suit filed against her by her slain husband’s brother, Steven Sneiderman.
Andrea Sneiderman also has filed a wrongful death suit against Hemy Neuman.
During that hearing, Dunwoody attorney Esther Panitch, who represents Steve Sneiderman and the family, argued that her client’s should stand, but the widow’s suit against Neuman should not.
“This wrongful death case does not belong to her,” Panitch argued before Fulton Superior Court Judge Doris Downs. “She is alleged to be (Neuman’s) co-conspirator. How can she sue Hemy Neuman…if she is aligned with him,” Panitch was quoted by the AJC as stating.
Judge Downs did not make a decision Friday on the defense motion to dismiss the suit. She said she would inform the attorneys later of her decision.