- New details have emerged in the mysterious story behind the attack on GOP Sen. Rand Paul by his neighbour that left the lawmaker hospitalized with six broken ribs and injured lungs late last year.
- According to new court documents reviewed by the Associated Press, Rene Boucher became enraged after Paul repeatedly piled yard debris near the line dividing their Kentucky properties.
- Boucher set fire to one of the piles the day before he tackled Paul to the ground as the senator worked in his yard.
New details have emerged in the mysterious story surrounding the physical attack on Sen. Rand Paul by his neighbour that left the Republican lawmaker hospitalized with six broken ribs and injured lungs late last year.
The motive behind the assault at Paul’s Bowling Green, Kentucky property had for months remained elusive as neither man provided any substantive explanation.
But according to new court documents reviewed by the Associated Press, Paul angered his neighbour of 17 years, a 59-year-old retired anesthesiologist, after he repeatedly piled yard debris near the line dividing their properties in their upscale gated community last fall.
Boucher found the yard waste, which was visible from his back porch, “unsightly” and had it loaded into portable dumpsters and disposed of in October.
After Paul created new mounds, Boucher poured gasoline on two large piles of branches and set them ablaze, giving himself second-degree burns.
But Paul continued his yard work and the next day blew leaves into his neighbour’s lawn.
According to Boucher’s defence attorneys, this is when Boucher “lost his temper” and ran toward Paul, tackling him from behind as Paul carried branches from one part of his yard to the property line.
Paul says he was blindsided by the attack and hadn’t had contact with Boucher in years.
“I was working in my yard with my earmuffs on – you know, to protect my hearing from the mower – and I had gotten off the mower, facing downhill, and the attacker came running full blown,” Paul told Fox News in December. “I never saw him, I never had conversation – in fact, the weird thing is, I haven’t talked to him in 10 years.”
Paul suffered two bouts of pneumonia and a pleural effusion – a buildup of fluid around the lungs – in addition to the fractured ribs, causing him to miss time in Washington.
Paul’s wife, Kelley Paul, wrote in an op-ed for CNN last November that there was no ongoing battle between the two men.
“The only ‘dispute’ existed solely in the attacker’s troubled mind,” she wrote, adding that Boucher’s wife and children “moved away” years ago.
Prosecutors are asking for 21 months in prison for Boucher, who pleaded guilty in March to one felony charge of assaulting a member of Congress.
Some Bowling Green neighbours have suggested the attack was politically motivated, which would constitute a much more serious crime – and in November, Paul’s chief strategist promoted media reports in which neighbours called the alleged “landscaping dispute” erroneous and unfounded.
Boucher has repeatedly denied having any political motivations.
“Dr. Boucher has adamantly denied any such political motivations throughout, as even the suggestion of them is completely unfounded and simply not true,” his attorneys wrote in the memorandum.
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