fred thompson

New TNJ edition: TWRA chafes at legislative interference, Hargett seeks to limit fallout from DUI arrest

Lawmakers attend Gov. Bill Lee’s State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 31, 2022. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tenenssee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Dangerous game? TWRA leaders chafe over Capitol pushback.

— Statehouse roundup: Hargett seeks to contain fallout from post-Bonnaroo DUI arrest, speakers take “truth in sentencing” signing ceremony on the road (without the guy responsible for signing bills).

— From the campaign trail: Channeling “Ole Fred” and blasting the Jan. 6 investigation in the 5th District race.

— Obituary: Bryant Millsaps, who was at the center of statehouse power struggles, dies at 75.

Also: Bill Hagerty goes golfing with Donald Trump, bogus ballots in Shelby County cross party lines, a Franklin road gets renamed after Connie Clark, and the crab walk comes to the Capitol.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Trump’s latest choice for U.S. Army secretary: Lobbyist who once worked for Bill Frist and Fred Thompson

President Donald Trump’s third proposed nominee as U.S. Army Secretary, is Mark Esper, Raytheon Inc.’s vice president of government relations and previously employed by two of Tennessee’s former U.S. senators, reports Politico.

A Gulf War veteran, Esper is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a 1986 graduate of West Point. He has worked for Raytheon, one of the “big five” defense contractors, since 2010… Esper is a veteran of both Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. He has been the policy director for the House Armed Services Committee as well as director of national security affairs for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

He was also a deputy assistant secretary of Defense during the George W. Bush administration and was the national policy director for the late Sen. Fred Thompson’s 2008 presidential bid.

… Trump’s first pick for the Army post, billionaire New York financier Vincent Viola, withdrew in February amid difficulty untangling his complex finances. The second pick, Tennessee Republican state Sen. Mark Green, withdrew amid mounting opposition over controversial statements he’d made about LGBT rights and Muslims.

United TN delegation finally gets Nashville courthouse named after the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Legislation naming a new federal courthouse in honor of the late Sen. Fred Thompson failed to pass Congress last year – perhaps one of the most notable bipartisan flops of the session for the Tennessee delegation to Congress. It passed the House, but the Senate where Thompson served never got around to voting on it, despite support from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. (Previous post HERE.)

The Tennessee delegation came back with the proposal again this year and declared success Wednesday. Here’s the bipartisan, collective press release, interestingly themed on asking President Trump to sign the bill (a veto, one suspects, is rather unlikely):

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Fred Thompson’s sons drop lawsuit over his will

The sons of actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson have dropped a lawsuit against their step-mother that contended their inheritance may have been improperly reduced, reports The Tennessean.

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.”

…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.

Negotiations fail to resolve lawsuit over Fred Thompson’s estate

Recently-filed court documents indicate settlement talks failed to resolve a dispute among members of the late Fred Thompson’s family over distribution of the former actor and U.S. senator’s estate, reports The Tennessean. The battle will apparently continue in court.

Thompson’s wife, Jeri Thompson, and his two adult sons from another marriage are sparring in court filings over what information Jeri Thompson must turn over as the case moves forward.

“(Thompson’s sons) should face the facts,” William Ramsey, a lawyer for Jeri Thompson, argued in the new court documents.

“Perhaps (the sons) are disappointed in their inheritance, but their disappointment does not entitle them to review irrelevant and confidential documents that have absolutely nothing to do with what is alleged in their complaint.”

Thompson’s sons, Tony and Dan Thompson, filed suit in August, accusing Jeri Thompson of having undue influence over their father at the end of his life and forcing him to make changes to his estate plan. Copies of the will in the court file say each son received $50,000 and list Jeri Thompson as the primary beneficiary.

Fred Thompson served Tennessee as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1994 to 2003 and he had a prominent role in the television drama “Law and Order.” He married Jeri Thompson in 2002. He died in November 2015 at the age of 73.

His adult sons now want to view documents related to the senator’s assets and his estate planning, court documents say. They say they have evidence — including a $40,000 bill from Nashville law firm Waller, which handled the senator’s will — that suspicious changes were made when their father “lacked the requisite mental capacity.”

Note: Previous post HERE.

TN congressmen try again to name courthouse after Fred Thompson

Members of the Tennessee congressional delegation tried last year to have the new Nashville federal courthouse named in honor of the late Sen. Fred Thompson, but the bill died without final action when Congress adjourned in December. (Previous post HERE.)

They’re trying again this year. News release below.

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