The perjury trial of Andrea Sneiderman may be over, but the saga that began 1,006 days ago when her husband was gunned down by her former boss is far from over.
Sneiderman, sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday, will appeal the verdict by a DeKalb County jury, which found her guilty of nine of the 13 charges against her. The jury concluded the Dunwoody widow lied about her relationship with her supervisor at GE Energy, Hemy Neuman, who was convicted last year of the November 2010 murder of Sneiderman’s husband, Rusty.
Next, she faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Rusty Sneiderman’s parents and brother.
“Following this decision, our family has determined that we have no choice but to continue to litigate the pending civil lawsuits against the defendant to the fullest extent possible under the law,” Rusty Snedierman’s family said in a statement released by their attorney, Esther Panitch.
Meanwhile, Andrea Sneiderman has hired Atlanta criminal defense attorney Brian Steel to work on her appeal.
“This is a fight Andrea Sneiderman is going to win,” said defense lawyer Doug Chalmers, who will assist on the appeal.
Sneiderman’s immediate future is more certain. She will be sent to the state’s Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, though it’s not yet known where she will serve her time.
Her attorneys say she could conceivably appear before a parole board in as little as two months.
DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams sentenced her to five years on each count to run concurrently. The judge also gave Sneiderman credit for the three weeks she spent in jail after her Aug. 2, 2012, arrest and the following 11-plus months she was under house arrest until murder charges against her were dismissed July 29.
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James, who requested a 20-year prison term, expressed some disappointment in the sentence but said, “Mrs. Sneiderman is on her way to jail as I believed she should be in the first place.”
Sneiderman pleaded for leniency during her sentencing hearing, insisting she did not have an affair with Neuman, who was sentenced to life in prison in March 2012.
“I never thought Mr. Neuman was capable of murder,” she said.
She acknowledged, though, that “the line of appropriate conduct was blurred.”
“I thought I could handle him,” she said. “I thought he was a man just being a man.”
Speaking publicly for the first time since she testified in Neuman’s trial, Sneiderman said she regretted only that she “let (Neuman) into her life.”
She also addressed that contentious testimony that ended up playing a pivotal role in her conviction.
“I was shocked when the prosecution began attacking me,” she said. “I fought back, and I tried to defend myself. I’m embarrassed when I watch the tape of my testimony.”
Sneiderman, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, shed tears throughout the testimony of friends and family speaking on her behalf. She was found guilty of four counts of perjury, three counts of delivering false statements, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and concealment of material facts.
The brother of Rusty Sneiderman, speaking before the judge, said his sister-in-law had no one to blame but herself.
“She thinks she’s special, but she’s not,” Steve Sneiderman said. “She’s a common criminal. She lied to her family. She lied to her friends. She lied to Rusty.”
“Without her lies and betrayal, Rusty would still be here with his children,” he said. “A very special man is gone because of her actions.”
Defense attorney Tom Clegg noted that the jury ruled that Andrea Sneiderman had no involvement in her husband’s murder.
“Had there been no public interest, there would’ve been no trial,” Clegg said in asking the judge for a sentence of probation. ‘Why on earth has the criminal justice system been so hell-bent on destroying this woman’s life? I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Later, Clegg said: “I felt like I was kicked in the stomach when I heard the verdict. I still feel that way.”
Sneiderman’s friends spoke of the need for their children to have their mother.
“Miss Elizabeth, I can’t see my mommy, but she’s not dead,” said Elizabeth Stansbury, quoting Sneiderman’s son as the defendant quietly sobbed. “They do not need to lose another parent.”
Friend Andy Lipman said Saturday is the eighth birthday of Sneiderman’s daughter.
“Please give (her) a birthday gift unlike no other,” he said.
Sneiderman showed little emotion as she was led out in handcuffs.