The sons of actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson have dropped their lawsuit against their step-mother, whom they had suggested may have cut them out of Thompson's estate.
Tony and Dan Thompson filed a lawsuit in August, alleging Jeri Thompson influenced their father at the end of his life to make changes in his will and to his beneficiaries. The sons, in a joint statement, said last-minute legal work drew their concern, and they tried to ask privately for answers but were rebuffed. So they went to court.
"When it was brought to our attention that over $40,000 of legal work was done drafting new estate plans and changing beneficiaries while our father was in hospice, we understandably had questions," the statement says.
The family discord, according to statements and court documents, stems from a bill the law firm Waller filed against Thompson's estate. Most recently in the case, in February Nashville probate Judge Randy Kennedy ordered Jeri Thompson to turn over documents related to Thompson's assets and estate planning.
"The discovery documents we saw satisfied us that our father's final wishes were followed, allowing us to dismiss the lawsuit," the sons' statement reads. "We're ready to move forward and are grateful dad finally has a tombstone and are hopeful the executor will now take care of her remaining obligations so we can all move on."
Fred Thompson served Tennessee as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1994 to 2003 and also had a prominent role on the television drama "Law and Order." He died in November 2015 at the age of 73. He married Jeri Thompson in 2002; Tony and Dan Thompson are his adult children from a previous marriage.
Jeri Thompson's lawyer called the legal brawl an unfounded embarrassment to the late senator. The sons dismissed their case on March 22, court records show.
"Their claims do not, and never did, have any legal or factual merit," said Bill Ramsey, Jeri Thompson's lawyer. "They misread, intentionally or otherwise, descriptions in legal bills that never should have been filed with the court.
"Like any other person who has been falsely accused, Mrs. Thompson is relieved that the justice system prevailed to defend her honor and her word. Mrs. Thompson regrets deeply the embarrassment done to her late husband’s reputation, and the trauma and distress caused by these unfounded allegations."
Reach Stacey Barchenger at 615-726-8968 or email@example.com or on Twitter @sbarchenger.