The DeKalb district attorney continues to evaluate possible criminal charges against Andrea Sneiderman involving the Dunwoody murder of her husband Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman and trial of his murderer Hemy Neuman. But the victim’s brother has taken dead aim at the widow with a wrongful death lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Steven Sneiderman by Dunwoody attorney Esther Panitch and Atlanta attorney William L. Balllard, claims Andrea Sneiderman “utilized her illicit relationship with her co-conspirator (Hemy Neuman) to manipulate him to murder Rusty Sneiderman.”
The lawsuit, which names Andrea Sneiderman and Hemy Neuman as defendants, also alleges Andrea “knew that her co-conspirator intended to kill Rusty Sneiderman” and that she “actively and knowingly participated in the murder and the planning of the murder.”
Steven Sneiderman’s lawsuit filed May 18 was the second civil action filed against Andrea Sneiderman by Rusty Sneiderman’s family. The first was filed in April by Rusty’s parents, Don and Marilyn Sneiderman over visitation rights with their two grandchildren, Sophia age 6 and Ian age 3.
Both lawsuits are now wending their way through the Superior Courts of Fulton County, filed there instead of in DeKalb County because Andrea Sneiderman and the children now live with her parents in Roswell and the children attend school in Fulton County.
Meanwhile, DeKalb District Attorney Robert James continues to say a decision as to whether or not to file criminal charges against Andrea—which could cite her for being a co-conspirator in the murder or simply involve perjury during her court testimony—remains “under review.”
What is known, however, is that the DeKalb grand jury has subpoenaed WSB-TV’s video coverage of Andrea’s testimony during the murder trial of Hemy Neuman, which ended March 15 with his conviction of malice murder and a sentence of life in prison without parole.
After the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike claimed she was involved in her husband’s death. In his closing argument, Neuman’s attorney, Doug Peters, said that, while his client may have held the gun that killed Rusty Sneiderman “the trigger was pulled ... by Andrea.”
Meanwhile, an hour after the jury found Neuman guilty, District Attorney James told a press conference, “We have strong beliefs about Mrs. Sneiderman’s involvement.”
Also after the murder trial, Steven Sneiderman said he believed Andrea shares the blame. “Andrea’s covered in Rusty’s blood,” Steven said then, “and there are not enough rabbis in the world to wash away those stains.”
Andrea’s attorneys say their evidence proves she is innocent of participating in the murder of her husband.
“We categorically deny each and every one of the allegations in the complaint filed today,” said former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan, recently hired by Sneiderman, along with his former chief assistant D.A., John Petrey, to assist in her defense. “We are looking forward to a vigorous and complete defense to ensure that Andrea is fully exonerated of these false accusations,” the Friday statement continued.
Morgan said his client was “disappointed Steven Sneiderman would file a complaint, supposedly to benefit Andrea’s children, when all he is now doing is forcing Andrea to incur legal fees that will, at the end of the day, simply take money out of the children’s pockets.”
The wrongful death suit by Steve Sneiderman seeks to protect financial assets “for the benefit of the children’s future,” according to attorney Ballard. “[Steve Sneiderman] is not seeking a penny in this lawsuit,” Ballard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Andrea Sneiderman received a $2 million settlement from two life insurance policies after her husband’s death.
In an statement issued May 18, the Sneiderman family said, “We took the step today of filing a wrongful death action to protect the interests of Rusty’s children for which he worked every day of his life to provide, to protect Rusty’s legacy by making sure the truth about the circumstances surrounding his death are publicly disclosed and to try to bring closure, once and for all, to all of the issues that continue to haunt us. Our family will never stop pursuing justice for Rusty.”
Andrea Sneiderman denied ever having an affair with Neuman, her former supervisor at GE Energy, despite evidence presented during the trial linking the two romantically. She also testified that she did not learn that her husband had been shot until she arrived at Atlanta Medical Center. Later, the widow’s former best friend Shayna Citron and father-in-law Don Sneiderman both testified that Andrea called and told them Rusty had been shot — before she had arrived at the hospital.
Many legal observers concluded she did herself more harm than good during her testimony.
Ironically, both attorneys Morgan and Petrey were quoted by the AJC during the trial commenting on the proceedings. In a Feb. 23 article, Petrey said in his personal opinion it was “not looking good for her (Andrea) at this time.”
In a March 14 AJC article, Morgan questioned the prosecution’s decision to name a co-conspirator (Andrea), who hadn’t been charged, during its closing statements. The former DeKalb district attorney and now private practice defense attorney, termed that move questionable.
“I don’t know what relevance it has,” he told the AJC. “This is about (Neuman) and whether he’s guilty. It’s great television fodder and malicious gossip about whether she was involved, but she hasn’t been charged.”
He did tell the AJC at that time he expected that James would not have made the claim unless he had evidence to back it up.
Ballard suggested to The Crier that evidence exists and will likely be brought up during the course of Steven Sneiderman’s wrongful death lawsuit. “I would not have filed the lawsuit if I didn’t think we were going to make the case,” he told The Crier.
The next steps in this lawsuit Ballard said, is “the civil discovery process, which includes exchange of information between the attorneys.” No court hearing dates have yet been set.