She was the subject of unsubtle innuendo, name dropped repeatedly by the state throughout its case.
Prosecutors noted Annie Anderson’s constant presence alongside Claud “Tex” McIver in the week following the fatal shooting of his wife, Diane, in September 2016. Anderson was at McIver’s Buckhead condominium and at his Putnam County ranch, prosecutors said.
The McIvers’ personal masseuse even accompanied the defendant to his interview with Atlanta police. Lead prosecutor Clint Rucker made a point of eliciting her name from the Atlanta Police Department’s lead investigator on the case, Detective Darrin Smith.
On Thursday, Anderson finally got the opportunity, albeit with some limitations, to respond to the rumors that have left her “humiliated and angry.” Asked by defense co-counsel Don Samuel if she ever had sexual relations with Tex McIver, Anderson replied, “1,000 percent never.”
Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Robert McBurney wouldn’t allow Samuel to fully explore the personal toll on Anderson from all of the speculation.
“Some families I work with have been more than disturbed about things they have heard about me personally,” said Anderson, fighting back tears.
The state expressed shock that anyone would think they were implying an untoward relationship. That led to a fascinating exchange between the two sides.
“If the prosecution wants to stick with the honest truth, that’s fine,” Samuel said. “Had we not called Annie Anderson to the stand … I guarantee 12 out of 12 jurors would have thought he was having sex with the masseuse.”
McBurney mentioned some of the more salacious testimony concerning Tex McIver and Anderson. Dani Jo Carter, Diane McIver’s best friend and the lone witness to the shooting that took her life, said she saw McIver on his back, sans shirt, getting a massage. (Anderson said Thursday that was inaccurate.)
Jay Grover, a longtime business associate at U.S. Enterprises with Diane McIver, testified that when he visited Tex at the ranch less than a week after the shooting, he was surprised to see Anderson there too. And, Grover said, she just happened to be wearing a pair of boots he had given Diane for Christmas.
(Anderson said the boots were a gift from Diane McIver. Besides, said Anderson, she wears a size 10½. Diane, she said, had much smaller feet.)
“It is not a factless inference to say that it’s confusing what’s going on in this situation immediately after Mrs. McIver’s death,” McBurney said. “Now if the state wants to go out on a limb and say that’s proof of a torrid affair for a hundred years, I don’t know how credible the jury will find that to be. Not my call to make.”
Lead prosecutor Clint Rucker said the state has not, and will not, make any such claim.
“In my opening argument I never made a claim there was an a sexual relationship between Annie Anderson and the defendant. We never said that,” Rucker said. “That is not the theory of the case. That’s not the motive we have pursued in this case.”
But they have implied it. And Rucker left that door open again on Thursday.
“The defense has put his character at issue,” Rucker said. “So when those witnesses testified about what they saw the defendant doing and the behavior he exhibited in the days after his wife’s death, I think, is fair game.”
He pointed out that defense lawyer Amanda Clark Palmer, in her opening statement, insisted that McIver is not guilty because he loved his wife.
“Well, if you loved your wife so much, why are you getting a massage on the bed you slept in every night for 10 years with your shirt off from somebody who is just your masseuse, you know, when you should be grieving. I can make that argument,” Rucker said.
Samuel, credulity strained, all but mocked the state’s defense.
“All they said was he was taking a massage face-up in the bedroom,” he said. “That’s all they asked. But that’s not what was going on in the trial. What was going on was a clear effort by the prosecution to claim and to try and convince this jury that they were having sex and that’s why he killed his wife. That’s one of the reasons. They’re trying to put into evidence that he wasn’t deeply in love, you know, he killed his wife so he could get with the masseuse.”
Anderson, meanwhile, sought to explain her actions that the state, despite its protestations to the contrary, found so suspicious.
First, why did she spend the evening in Tex McIver’s bedroom, alone with him, one night after Diane’s death?
“We knew we needed to watch out for Tex because he had an anxiety attack at the hospital,” Anderson said. She said they monitored him constantly “because we honestly didn’t know what state of mind he had.” Two other friends of the McIvers slept in the condo that night, just outside the bedroom.
» GO DEEP INTO THE McIVER MURDER SAGA via The AJC Breakdown podcast. You can find all the McIver episodes here, as well as Breakdown podcast episodes of other legal dramas.
Anderson said she accompanied McIver to the police station, and later the ranch, because he was unable to drive, due to the medication he was taking.
She spoke glowingly about Diane McIver. Anderson said her daughter thought of Diane as a godmother. The massage therapist and wellness consultant teared up when reading a text she sent, some 30 minutes before the shooting, to the woman she called “Momma Di.”
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What happened Thursday: Annie Anderson, subject of much innuendo concerning her relationship with Tex McIver, adamantly denies they were having an affair.
What’s next: The defense expects to rest Friday. The state plans to call some rebuttal witnesses, however, meaning closing arguments will come Monday at the earliest.