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A look at the key players in the Tex McIver murder trial

Here are some of the key players in the Claud “Tex” McIver case: 

Tex McIver: Before he gained notoriety for shooting his wife in their SUV, Tex McIver was a politically-connected lawyer who represented businesses in labor law disputes. He was the longtime chairman of the state election board, where he helped champion the adoption of Georgia’s controversial voter ID law. He bought his second wife, Diane, a $60,000 engagement ring, and the two had a storybook wedding at Tex’s 86-acre ranch in Putnam County. They shuttled back and forth between the ranch and a luxury condo in Buckhead.

Diane McIver: Diane McIver went to work for Atlanta businessman Bill Corey as a teenager, becoming his protégé. From there, the former Diane Smith would go on to to lead his company, U.S. Enterprises. She met Tex McIver when she moved into a condo in his Buckhead building. Described as lively and engaging, she was known for her inexhaustible wardrobe; for example, she kept 125 furs in the Buckhead condo alone. She often accessorized her stylish outfits with a wide-brimmed hat.

Dani Jo Carter: A longtime friend of Diane McIver’s, Dani Jo Carter was driving the couple’s 2013 Ford Expedition on the night of the shooting. Carter rushed the wounded Diane McIver to Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road, where she died early the next day. The two met some four decades ago when Carter, who works as a cosmetologist, cut Diane McIver’s hair. Two of the charges against McIver alleging he attempted to influence a witness, involve what he apparently told Carter. She has said that the SUV was at a complete standstill when the gun went off.

Clint Rucker: In his more than two decades with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, Rucker has prosecuted some of the state’s biggest cases, including courthouse killer Brian Nichols and millionaire bon vivant James Sullivan, who hired a hit man to kill his socialite wife. He also was the lead prosecutor in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. He’s known for his imposing presence and booming voice and is widely respected by his courtroom adversaries. “He knows juries better than anyone I’ve ever tried a case against,” said Don Samuel, co-counsel for Tex McIver. “He’s dynamic in the courtroom. He’s mesmerizing, he really is.”

Bruce Harvey: Known for his trademark ponytail, Harvey is a performer of the highest magnitude. But schtick alone doesn’t account for the success he’s experienced representing defendants in high-profile cases such as the Ray Lewis murder trial and the Gold Club racketeering scandal. “He is a true entertainer and has tremendous imagination,” said Atlanta attorney Bruce Morris. “Juries like him. Judges, for the most part, like him. Prosecutors like him in spite of not wanting to like him.”

Don Samuel: The famed Atlanta defense attorney is the opposite, stylistically, of co-counsel, Bruce Harvey. He’s more steak than sizzle — a widely respected legal scholar and author whose clients include NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and rapper T.I. “He’s the smartest lawyer, period, that i know.” Harvey said. Samuel and his wife, author Melissa Fay Greene, have raised nine children, five of whom came from Ethiopia and Bulgaria.

Robert McBurney: A Fulton County superior court judge, Robert McBurney was once a star federal prosecutor. McBurney rose to become senior litigation counsel at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, where he also led the public corruption unit. Before that he worked as a Fulton County homicide prosecutor, the Harvard graduate was named to the vacant spot on the bench in 2012 by Gov. Nathan Deal. McBurney allows the highly unusual practice of allowing jurors to ask questions to witnesses.

Breakdown: The McIver Murder Case

The new episode of our podcast “Breakdown: The McIver Murder Case” launches early Monday with an examination of trial strategies for both sides.

The prosecution’s problem: Motive. Prosecutor Clint Rucker has been unable to find a purported new will by Diane McIver that somehow disadvantaged Tex. That would be a strong motive, and Rucker told the court on Thursday that he intends to raise the issue during trial. But so far, no such document has surfaced.

The defense’s problem: Tex McIver. He makes a compelling claim that the shooting was accidental. But the things he did and said after Diane died have cast him in a bad light. They include the auctions of her extravagant wardrobe; his alleged attempts to get witnesses to change their stories; and several other missteps.

Get the latest on the Tex McIver case here, and join the discussion on our Breakdown group on Facebook.

Find the AJC’s Breakdown podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform, or stream the new episode right here, right now, on the player above. 

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