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Civil lawsuit filed against Andrea Sneiderman

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Andrea Sneiderman on the stand during Hemy Neuman's trial (photo from WAGA file). Andrea Sneiderman on the stand during Hemy Neuman's trial (photo from WAGA file).

Rusty Sneiderman's brother Steven filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his sister-in-law in Fulton Superior Court on Friday.  Andrea Sneiderman has not been charged in connection to the crime, but her deceased husband's family claims she conspired with her boss to kill him.

Rusty Sneiderman was gunned down outside his son's Dunwoody day care center 18 months ago, and his wife's boss, Hemy Neuman, was convicted of malice murder and illegal possession of a firearm on March 15.  He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus five years.  

A DeKalb County jury found Neuman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but mentally ill.  That means that he is receiving mental health treatment in prison.  Neuman had pleaded guilty by reason of insanity.  At the time of his conviction, his attorney said he planned to appeal the verdict.

Steven Sneiderman's lawsuit alleges an inappropriate relationship took place between Andrea Sneiderman and Neuman, and, according to the filing, the two "joined together in a plan to murder Rusty Sneiderman."  It states that Andrea Sneiderman "actively and knowingly participated in the murder and planning of the murder of Rusty Sneiderman."

Sneiderman's attorney says she is a loving wife and mother who has been portrayed unfairly, but her brother-in-law's lawsuit alleges she is a murderer.  During the trial, both the prosecution and the defense called Andrea Sneiderman at least partially responsible for her husband's murder.  Now, Steven Sneiderman is seeking monetary damages, and his attorney says that any money awarded in the lawsuit would to Rusty Sneiderman's children.  

The Sneiderman family confirmed the suit in a statement released Friday afternoon:

"It has been 18 months now since Rusty was brutally taken from us and we began our quest to obtain Justice for Rusty.   We took the step today of filing a wrongful death action to protect the interests of Rusty's children for which he worked everyday of his life to provide, to protect Rusty's legacy by making sure the truth about the circumstances surrounding his death are publicly disclosed and to try to bring closure, once and for all, to all of the issues that continue to haunt us.

Without resolution of these issues, our family has no chance to heal.  Without resolution of these issues, there will be no Justice for Rusty.  Our family will never stop pursuing Justice for Rusty."

But Andrea Sneiderman's attorneys say she had no part in the murder, and she was unfairly portrayed during Neuman's murder trial.  Former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan, John H. Petrey and Douglas Chalmers, Jr., also released a statement on her behalf regarding the new civil suit.

"We categorically deny each and every one of the allegations in the complaint filed today," said Morgan.  "We are looking forward to a vigorous and complete defense to ensure that Andrea is fully exonerated of these false accusations. We are also disappointed that Steven Sneiderman would file a complaint, supposedly to benefit Andrea's children, when all he is now doing is forcing Andrea to incur legal fees that will, at the end of the day, simply take money out of the children's pockets."

"Steven Sneiderman and his attorney Esther Panitch have been attempting to try Andrea in the media for months," said Chalmers.  "We look forward to vigorously representing her in a court of law where, for the first time, she will have the opportunity to tell her side of the story. We are also carefully considering our legal options regarding the outrageous and libelous statements that have been made to the media about Andrea, without the benefit of privilege, by various individuals."

Attorneys for both sides say they're looking forward to the facts coming out in court.   

The DeKalb County district attorney still has not made any decision about possible criminal charges against Andrea Sneiderman.  Her attorney says she will present her side of the story in defending the civil case.  It is unclear how possible criminal charges against Andrea Sneiderman would affect the civil case.

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