DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Attorneys for the Dunwoody widow convicted of lying about an affair with her husband's killer are asking for a new trial.
Tuesday, a judge sentenced Andrea Sneiderman to five years in prison after a jury convicted her on nine of 13 counts, including perjury, false statements, concealment, and hindering the apprehension of a criminal.
Moments after sentencing, attorney Brian Steel filed the motion for a new trial and a motion to release Sneiderman on bond pending appeal. Among Steel's arguments are that the verdict was "contrary to the evidence and without evidence to support it."
Steel's motion also argues that the verdict is "contrary to law and principles of justice and equity."
Tuesday, Sneiderman's attorneys said they planned to appeal based on several issues in her trial, including the judge allowing testimony from convicted killer Hemy Neuman's realtor, Melanie White, who recounted details of the alleged affair relayed to her by Neuman.
"Here's a man whose convicted of murder, who a jury found is mentally ill, who gave many different statements, including statements he imagined he had an affair with Andrea, and we were never given the chance to
cross-examine him," said J. Tom Morgan.
Morgan also said attorneys had issues with Judge Gregory A. Adams not allowing jurors to hear a secret recording of Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan telling Andrea Sneiderman police had arrested Neuman. In the recording, Sneiderman is heard screaming in disbelief after Grogan tells her they'd arrested her boss.
Channel 2's Mike Petchenik spoke to juror DeMetrius Fowler, about the jury's decision and the attorney's request for a new trial.
"The evidence was most definitely there," Fowler told Petchenik by phone Wednesday.
Fowler told Petchenik jurors found White's testimony intriguing and credible.
"She really didn't have much stake in things, so why would this woman make up these stories about Andrea Sneiderman?" Fowler asked.
He said after hearing the evidence jurors were convinced Sneiderman was having an affair with Neuman, despite her denials.
emails and the eyewitness testimony we heard, it was almost an overwhelming amount of evidence on those counts," he said. "Sometimes it was pretty one-sided, but once we got to reviewing the emails and some of the things said between them, it looked like it went both ways, in our opinion."
Some legal observers believe Sneiderman could
be paroled from prison sooner rather than later.
Jay Abt, who represents Sneiderman's former friend, Shayna Citron, told Petchenik the parole board will look at Sneiderman's lack of criminal history, education level and other factors.
"She should be eligible for parole pretty quickly, possibly within the year," said Abt.
Abt told Petchenik, despite his feelings about Sneiderman's guilt, he believes her attorneys might have a good case for overturning the trial because prosecutors brought up life insurance proceeds.
"That's a big 'no no' in Georgia law," he said. "Particularly since Robert James dropped the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) charge, which would have made the insurance issue relevant."
Petchenik also spoke to Sneiderman's close friend, Joseph Dell, about the sentence.
"The judge handed down the most lenient sentence he possibly could," said Dell. "That speaks volumes."
Dell has been a fixture in the Sneiderman household since Rusty's death, and at one point, prosecutors theorized he was romantically involved with the widow, and may have been the true motive for the murder.
"I was shocked, Mike. That was by far the last thing I expected to hear," he said, denying any romantic involvement with Sneiderman.
"I didn't expect to see it in a civil filing. I didn't expect to hear it in the courtroom, and for those of you who watched the trial, I was never brought up."
Dell said he and Sneiderman's friends are helping the family with the two young children who are now without their father, and for the time being, without their mother.
"They missed their mother anytime their mother would go away for 15 minutes at a time," he said.
"They will have to get used to the new normal."