Criminal Justice

Fisher Phillips cut partner's pay and demoted him before he shot his wife, firm leaders testify

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Prosecutors in the murder trial of former Fisher & Phillips partner Claud “Tex” McIver called witnesses on Tuesday to bolster their case that the Atlanta lawyer had a drop in income before he shot and killed his wife, giving him a potential $1 million windfall.

McIver maintains the gun he was holding while sitting in the back seat of an SUV in September 2016 accidentally discharged, killing his wife, Diane, who was in the passenger seat. The weapon had been fired several times. Prosecutors charged McIver with murder. The Daily Report has an article on Tuesday’s trial testimony.

Law firm officials testified that McIver’s income had dropped from an average of $570,000 a year during his first seven years of marriage to Diane McIver to $275,000 for the fiscal year that ended four days before her death. He had been demoted from an equity partner to an income partner in January 2014.

McIver’s status was going to change again, Fisher & Phillips chairman Roger Quillen testified. Law firm leaders had discussed a retirement plan with McIver that required him to transition to a senior counsel by the end of 2017. In the new position, McIver would earn a contingency fee based on work billed on behalf of the firm.

McIver was the primary beneficiary in his wife’s 2006 will. Prosecutors say Diane McIver’s friends had told of a new will that reduced her husband’s inheritance and increased money for the couple’s godchild. That will hasn’t been found.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has continuing coverage on its live blog.

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