Andrea Sneiderman friend disputes prosecution timeline

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Defense witness: Sneiderman worried by Neuman's advances

A friend of Andrea Sneiderman testified Tuesday that the Dunwoody widow was mistaken when she said she learned her husband, Rusty, had been shot from an emergency room doctor at the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Defense witness Elizabeth Stansbury said an administrator at Dunwoody Prep told her that Sneiderman — charged with perjury, providing false statements to police and hindering the apprehension of a criminal — “collapsed into a chair” when she was informed that, roughly 30 minutes earlier, her spouse had been gunned down in the parking lot of the day care facility.

That casts doubt on a timeline of events after Rusty Sneiderman’s death, long considered the strongest part of the state’s case against his widow. That timeline had been built largely from Andrea Sneiderman’s testimony during the trial of her former boss Hemy Neuman, who was sentenced to life in prison after acknowledging he was the gunman.

“I didn’t know what happened to Rusty until I got to the emergency room. No one told me what happened to Rusty,” she testified in February 2011.

Sneiderman’s father-in-law, former best friend and a colleague at GE Energy subsequently testified that she had phoned before arriving at Atlanta Medical Center and told them Rusty had been shot.

The administrator at Dunwoody Prep, who preceded Stansbury on the stand, said she couldn’t recall if someone at the day care center told Sneiderman about the shooting.

“It’s so hard to remember,” testified the administrator, Donna Formato. Prosecutors tried to block Stansbury’s testimony regarding what Formato allegedly said but their objections were overruled by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams.

Stansbury said she decided not to tell investigators about her conversation with Formato because she didn’t trust DeKalb District Attorney Robert James. Meanwhile, her friend would spend almost a full year under house arrest.

Day 7 of the Sneiderman trial started with Adams denying a defense motion for a directed verdict, a verdict ordered by the judge. Co-counsel Doug Chalmers said the state “has not proven its case. Things that Andrea Sneiderman said or Hemy Neuman said have been interpreted in a certain way (by the state) and presented as fact.”

Later, Neuman’s own words were used by the defense to bolster its contention that Sneiderman had rejected his amorous advances.

“Her message was very clear,” Neuman said in a taped interview with Dunwoody police conducted the day of his arrest: “ ‘I made a commitment to my husband.’ ”

The defense is expected to wrap up its case by Thursday. Sneiderman said Tuesday she hasn’t decided whether she’ll testify.

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