Fox News anchor Julie Banderas’ soon-to-be ex-husband was found not guilty of criminal charges for allegedly holding a steak knife to his wife’s throat, a local New York judge ruled late last month.
And now the estranged husband has accused Banderas of using her perch on Greg Gutfeld’s nightly Fox News program to smear him.
Andrew Sansone, the 55-year-old financial adviser currently mired in divorce proceedings with Banderas, was arrested last December for menacing and criminal possession of a weapon. The Daily Mail was the first to report on Sansone’s exoneration this week.
“This malicious accusation against my client was a blatant misuse of the criminal justice system, using it as a sword and not a shield, purely to gain leverage in divorce court,” Sansone’s attorney Edward Burke Jr. told The Daily Beast.
“Spousal abuse is not a joking matter,” Banderas’ lawyer Frank Blangiardo responded. “Control and jealousy in divorce are abundant. After a year of divorce litigation an estranged spouse should not point a knife at his wife, period.”
Two months before stunning Fox News viewers by revealing she was getting divorced during a Valentine’s Day segment on the network’s late-night comedy show Gutfeld!, Banderas had Sansone arrested for supposedly threatening her with a knife in the couple’s home. According to Banderas, Sansone was irate that she kept eating mashed potatoes he had prepared for their three children, allegedly brandishing a knife at her throat in response.
The police report, which was filed five days after the purported incident, claimed the potato confrontation was an escalation of an ongoing argument about money related to their pending divorce. Sansone is seeking primary custody of the kids and spousal and child support from Banderas. Following his arrest on Dec. 19, a restraining order was placed on Sansone prohibiting him from contacting his estranged wife.
During the non-jury trial in June over the criminal charges, however, it was revealed upon cross-examination that Banderas admitted to previously threatening to “plant” a “really juicy story” about Sansone in the press in an effort to gain an advantage.
“Defendant contends that the Complainant took an innocent interaction with him and twisted it into the criminal complaint now before the court to gain matrimonial action,” Judge Gary Weber wrote in his ruling. “[T]he complainant acknowledged that she had made other remarks evincing to the Defendant her willingness to engage in any actions necessary to prevail financially in the divorce case. These candid admissions might be viewed as bearing upon the Complainant’s credibility.”
The judge also found that Banderas’ testimony during the trial was “at variance with her statement given to the police” about Sansone’s behavior and expressions during the incident. While Banderas told the court that Sansone had an “angry demeanor” and put the knife “[r]ight up against my throat but not touching my skin” when she repeatedly sampled the mashed potatoes, Sansone contended that he engaged with her in a “playful, sarcastic way” after she rubbed against him while taking scoops of potatoes. He added that he told her to “wait for dinner to be served” while he “gestured jokingly with the steak knife from an arm’s length” distance from Banderas.
Furthermore, Weber noted that Sansone provided contemporaneous text messages and direct testimony that support his claim that the family had dinner together that evening, suggesting that “relations were as normal as could be expected given the pending matrimonial action.” Banderas insisted in court that the family did not eat together and she instead went up to her bedroom alone until the children went to bed. Later on, she went out drinking with friends until early the next morning.
“Here, the testimony of the complaining witness did not include any utterances or threats by the Defendant at the time of the incident or, for the matter of that, at any time previously during the relationship between the complainant and the Defendant, even as the relationship deteriorated,” Weber wrote.
“For all of these reasons, the court finds that the People have failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant possessed the steak knife with the intent to use the same unlawfully against another or to place in reasonable fear of physical injury or death,” the ruling concluded.
Banderas, who sparked furor this week for saying that Trump “hatching schemes” to overturn an election isn’t criminal, said she was disappointed in the verdict while contending that she withhold key evidence that would have potentially swung the trial.
“I am deeply disappointed in the Judge’s decision but I have profound respect for our justice system and understand how extraordinarily high the burden of proof is in criminal matters,” she said in a statement.
“I chose not to present compelling evidence during the hearing in order to protect my family’s privacy,” Banderas added. “I encourage every woman in toxic and controlling relationships who are victimized with threats and abuse, to continue to have faith in the system and not be dissuaded by what happened to me.”
A spokesperson for Sansone, meanwhile, fired back that the judge didn’t view Bandera’s accusations as credible, while claiming she had used her appearances on Greg Gutfeld’s show to smear her estranged husband.
“The Southampton Town Justice Court recently cleared Andrew Sansone of his wife, Fox News anchor Julie Banderas’ false accusations. After thorough evaluation, the Judge unequivocally determined Ms. Banderas was not believable and affirmed Andrew’s innocence,” the spokesperson told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
“Ms. Banderas accused Andrew of threatening her while he was merely making dinner for their kids. Her claim of an early evening incident contradicts her late-night socializing,” the statement continued. “Five days later, she fabricated charges against Andrew, leading to an unjustified arrest, and her motives for these false accusations came to light.”
The spokesperson added: “Ms. Banderas’ inconsistent testimony led to the Judge’s disbelief. After observing her changing narrative, the Judge even went the extra step and issued a written opinion outlining Andrew’s innocence and Ms. Banderas’ lack of credibility. Regrettably, she has continued her attempts to tarnish Andrew’s reputation, using her position on Fox’s Gutfeld program to further malign their marriage and vilify him.”
Besides her Gutfeld! appearance in February announcing her pending divorce by declaring, “congratulations are in order,” Sansone’s flack appears to be referencing comments Banderas made last month on the show.
After Gutfeld asked her on the July 21 broadcast what she survived “that could have or did go horribly wrong,” Banderas quickly remarked, “My marriage,” as Gutfeld cackled in delight.
“And I’m barely alive,” she concluded.