by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
DECATUR, Ga. - DeKalb County prosecutors have dismissed one lawsuit seeking to seize the insurance proceeds of murdered Dunwoody businessman Rusty Sneiderman, and have filed another one in a different county.
After Rusty Sneiderman's November 2010 murder, his widow, Andrea, collected more than $2 million. After a grand jury indicted Mrs. Sneiderman in August on charges she conspired with her former boss and alleged lover, Hemy Neuman, to kill Rusty, prosecutors filed suit against the New York bank where she's keeping the money.
In court Wednesday, Chief DeKalb County Assistant Prosecutor Don Geary told the judge his office determined the branch in which Sneiderman deposited the money was actually in Fulton County.
"We did agree with the general proposition that would be a better county to proceed in," said Geary, who informed Judge Gregory Adams he had sought and received an order from a Fulton County Superior Court judge to refreeze the assets pending the outcome of a trial.
Sneiderman's attorneys had filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the money isn't in DeKalb County.
"They are also not even located in Georgia," the motion reads. "Because the District Attorney of DeKalb County lacks authority to prosecute this RICO forfeiture proceeding, the complaint should be dismissed and the freeze order should be vacated."
Sneiderman's attorney, Louis Levenson, argued Judge Gregory Adams should grant the state's motion to dismiss, but take it a step further.
"I believe we're entitled to such an order that directs Bank of New York Mellon to recognize that DeKalb ... has no force or effect with what Bank of New York Mellon does with Mrs. Sneiderman's funds," said Levenson.
Late Wednesday, Adams dismissed the DeKalb County case, but did not order the bank to unfreeze the funds.
Meantime, an attorney representing Rusty's brother, Steven, filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of the Sneiderman's young children. Steven Sneiderman is executor of Rusty's will and his motion sought to preserve the money for the children's benefit in the event of Andrea's conviction. Attorney Esther Panitch couldn't comment on the motion, but said she would re-file it in Fulton County now that the case was being moved.
One legal observer told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik the motion is a logical one.
"The state of Georgia shouldn't get the $2 million as a windfall to the state," said former prosecutor turned defense attorney Ken Hodges. "It should be to the benefit of the children. However the court wants to get to that ultimate goal, it'll be an interesting legal exercise."
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