Andrea Sneiderman was sentenced to five years behind bars after being convicted of several felonies, including perjury, for lying about an affair she had with the man who shot her husband, Rusty, to death in 2010. The judge will give her time served for about a year she spent on house arrest.
"The jury has spoken and we respect their answers to the questions presented to them. 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,” said Rusty Sneiderman’s family in a statement released to HLN. “Our family will never recover from losing someone as unique and beloved as Rusty Sneiderman. We will press on, as we have no other choice. We are now left with the hard work of finally grieving his loss and attempting to rebuild our shattered lives.”
Sneiderman made a tearful plea to the judge before he announced her sentence, asking him to let her skip prison altogether and stay home to be with her kids.
"One of my greatest regrets will always be allowing this predator into my life, for not being stronger, for not dispelling his advances sooner," Sneiderman said between sobs. She was talking about her former boss, Hemy Neuman, who was convicted of murdering her husband, Rusty. Prosecutors say the two were having an affair and she lied to police about it, concealing Neuman's motive for murder. Jurors found Sneiderman guilty on Monday of nine out of 13 charges against her, related to covering up the relationship.
"I regret sharing anything personal with this man," Snedierman said. "Allowing him to get too close to me on an emotional level was a complete betrayal as I have never shared my personal feelings with any man other than Rusty."
Sneiderman, who was out on bond and wearing street clothes during her trial, is now in police custody and wore an orange jumpsuit in court Tuesday morning. Her ankles were also shackled.
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She continued to deny her affair with Neuman, saying she wanted to "be clear" that there was "no sex, no kissing, no nothing, other than putting my head on his shoulder to cry and holding his hand on one occasion to comfort him. I was never leaving my true love, Rusty."
The brother of the widow's late husband, however, said that being a mother shouldn't mean Sneiderman's slate gets wiped clean.
"She thinks she is special. She’s not. She’s a common criminal," said Steven Sneiderman. "Her pathetic narcissism would be almost comical if it weren’t tied to the death of such a special person."
Steven Sneiderman described Rusty Sneiderman as a hardworking, relentless, wonderful, devoted father.
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"There are times, when I admit, she has been extraordinarily exasperating, but she is a good, good person," Clegg told the judge, suggesting probation instead of prison time for the widow. "I’m asking you, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of my soul, don’t ruin this woman’s life."
Several of Snedierman's friends got emotional as they took the stand to ask the judge for leniency for Sneiderman because of her two small children. They told stories of her youngest child, who wanted to know if his mother was now dead, just like his father.
"If we put her in jail for 20 years, we’re all losing, we’re all losing," said Tracey Karish, who broke down in tears and had to pause to wipe her eyes and compose herself.
Sneiderman's defense attorney, Thomas Clegg, even said he had to start off his closing remarks with "mundane legal stuff" so he could avoid crying.
"The loss of my brother has been devastating to me," Steven Sneiderman said. "I still want to talk to him, bounce ideas off of him, hear that goofy laugh. But I won’t get that chance ever again."
Andrea Sneiderman cried throughout the sentencing hearing Tuesday. She showed no emotion on Monday as she listened to the jury forewoman say she'd been found guilty of concealing the relationship between herself and her former boss, Hemy Neuman, by destroying text messages and phone records and lying to police and the court during Neuman’s murder trial. Jurors felt Sneiderman was being truthful, however, when she said she didn’t know about Neuman’s plans to murder her husband, finding her not guilty on four additional charges.
Neuman was convicted in 2012 of gunning down Sneiderman’s husband outside of an Atlanta-area day care in 2010. Sneiderman, who has always denied the affair with her former boss, did not take the stand during her nine-day trial, but she did testify during Neuman’s murder trial.
Prosecutors said Sneiderman not only lied to police but also to jurors during that 2012 testimony. Her attorneys pointed the finger at police officers, saying they "blew it" when it came to the investigation.