by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Even an adversary of Andrea Sneiderman told Channel 2 Action News it was unfair for her to spend nearly a year on house
arrest if prosecutors cannot prove a murder case against her.
As Channel 2 Action News first reported Tuesday, sources said prosecutors notified the defense team of intent to drop the three most serious charges from her indictment: malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.
"I'm deeply disappointed that the District Attorney's Office is not going to try those charges," said Bob Rubin, who represents Hemy Neuman.
Neuman is serving a life sentence for the murder and used to be Andrea Sneiderman's boss at GE Energy.
"Hemy did shoot Rusty Sneiderman, but we believe he did it after being manipulated by Andrea Sneiderman, and we think she should face those charges," Rubin told Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.
Former DeKalb County prosecutor Don Geary helped draft the original indictment against Andrea Sneiderman. He said he was confident in the case when he and the district attorney weighed the evidence.
"I'm surprised the murder charges are being dropped, given the evidence that's already been made public," Geary said, "But it was (District Attorney) Robert James' decision to charge Andrea in the first place, so it's up to him if he wants to change his mind."
Geary spent months preparing the case but left to take another job in December.
"It was very, very difficult. When I made my decision to leave, it was, in fact, something I weighed," said Geary.
James first took the case to a grand jury last
August and has twice since reindicted it, altering charges as recently as April.
"Yes, that means we have strong beliefs about Ms. Sneiderman's
involvement. The question is whether or not we can prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, which is our standard," James told Fleischer last March.
He said he would not indict a case he could not prove.
Sneiderman was arrested last
August. She's accused of helping Neuman plan the murder of her husband, Rusty Sneiderman, in the parking lot of the Dunwoody Prep preschool.
During Neuman's trial, both prosecutors and defense attorneys argued Andrea Sneiderman played a role.
Rubin acknowledged, "There's a big difference between us believing Andrea Sneiderman manipulated Hemy and being able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. We understand the DA's burden."
But he added, "What's bothersome to me is why indict those charges in the first place, if you don't think you can prove it?"
Andrea Sneiderman's attorneys are under a gag order from the judge and were not able to comment on this
victory or on the timing of James' decision.
Sneiderman has been on house arrest for nearly a year.
"It was certainly unfair to Andrea Sneiderman -- who, again, I'm not a big fan of, but it is unfair to her to put her through that if you don't think you can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt," said Rubin.
Both Geary and Rubin also expressed concern for Rusty Sneiderman's parents and brother and sister-in-law, who advocated for Andrea Sneiderman to face charges.
"We have no peace until everyone involved in this is brought forward for their actions. In the meantime, it is clear to me that Andrea is covered in Rusty's blood," said Steve Sneiderman after the Neuman trial concluded.
"What they've gone through you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, and what they continue to go through with the way this case has been a roller coaster for them," said Rubin.
Rusty Sneiderman's family has declined to comment on these developments until after the trial.
Andrea Sneiderman's case is scheduled for jury selection beginning on Monday.
Thirteen charges remain in the
indictment, including allegations she lied to police and on the stand during the Neuman trial. Perjury charges carry up to 10 years in prison. False-statements charges can carry up to five years.
Judge Gregory Adams, who presided over the Neuman trial, will determine the sentence if a jury finds Sneiderman guilty of anything.
"Judge Adams still has the discretion to give her potentially probation on all those counts and run them all concurrent. She literally, if convicted, could walk out with five years probation on all of them," said Geary.