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Defense seeks directed verdict after state rests in Andrea Sneiderman trial
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Defense seeks directed verdict after state rests in Andrea Sneiderman trial

Defense seeks directed verdict after state rests in Andrea Sneiderman trial
Photo Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC
Andrea Sneiderman listens to testimony in court Wednesday. The 37-year-old mother of two faces 4 perjury counts, 7 counts of making false statements and 1 count each of hindering the apprehension of a criminal and concealing a material fact in connection with the death of her husband, Rusty.

Defense seeks directed verdict after state rests in Andrea Sneiderman trial

The state concluded its case against Andrea Sneiderman with the defendant’s own words, replayed from testimony she gave during last year’s trial of her husband’s killer, Hemy Neuman.

“Why were you protecting the defendant? Why didn’t you mention his name?” former DeKalb County Deputy District Attorney Don Geary asked Sneiderman after accusing her of leading investigators down a “rabbit hole.”

Jurors were left with Sneiderman’s memorable response, “Have you seen what’s happened to my life?” Geary’s reply: “Have you seen what’s happened to Rusty’s (Sneiderman) life?” Neuman was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting Rusty Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody day care facility.

The dramatic finish followed extensive testimony about cellphone tower pings and deleted text messages on Day 6 of the Dunwoody widow’s perjury trial. She’s also charged with providing false statements to law enforcement, concealing material facts and hindering the apprehension of a criminal.

Defense co-counsel Doug Chalmers moved to dismiss all but the perjury charges, challenging the validity of the indictment against Sneiderman.

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams rejected the defense’s request. Sneiderman’s attorneys also filed a motion seeking a directed verdict, a verdict ordered by the judge. That motion will be considered Tuesday morning.

Earlier Monday, prosecutors returned focus to a timeline detailing Sneiderman’s actions after her husband’s shooting. FBI Special Agent Chad Fitzgerald testified that analysis of Sneiderman’s Blackberry showed that she phoned her father-in-law, her former best friend and a colleague at GE Energy before she arrived at Atlanta Medical Center.

According to her testimony in the Neuman trial, it was at the medical center she was first told her husband had been shot. The recipients of those calls all testified, however, that Sneiderman told them Rusty had been shot.

Meanwhile, FBI forensics expert David Freyman testified that phone calls and text messages exchanged by Sneiderman and her boss on the day of the shooting were later deleted from her Blackberry.

Freyman said he was not certain who removed the data from Sneiderman’s phone but testified it had to be her or someone with access to her pass code. The defense moved to strike his testimony, saying prosecutors had not established a chain of custody. Judge Adams denied the motion but said it was a “close” call.

Prosecutors seized on the alleged deletions as evidence that Sneiderman led investigators away from Neuman.

Day 6 began with Dunwoody Deputy Police Chief David Sides’ revelation that, after Neuman’s arrest, investigators considered the 37-year-old mother of two a “person of interest.”

But under cross-examination from defense attorney Tom Clegg, Sides acknowledged that detectives never asked for Sneiderman’s phone or interviewed friends with whom she shared suspicions that Neuman was the gunman.

Sneiderman has denied engaging in an inappropriate relationship with her former boss.

Her attorneys say police would have never known Neuman’s name if she had not provided it to them, but Sides said that she disclosed very little about their relationship until after his arrest on Jan. 4, 2011.

“On the 4th of January, what if anything did she tell you about stalking (her), his feelings, or wanting to marry her?” asked DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James.

“Nothing,” Sides replied.

Sneiderman provided those details the following day, twice telling police that Neuman was “crazy” and that he was in love with her. Six weeks earlier, during an interview one day after her husband’s murder, Sneiderman told investigators that Neuman had made a pass at her but added she had made it clear she would not leave Rusty and that the two maintained a friendly relationship.

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