Rand Paul's neighbour pleaded not guilty to assault amid widening questions about what led to the attack

  • Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s next-door neighbourhood pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that he assaulted the Kentucky lawmaker.
  • Many details surrounding the incident, including the neighbour’s motives, remain undisclosed.

Sen. Rand Paul’s next-door neighbour pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that he assaulted Paul while the Kentucky Republican was mowing his lawn in Bowling Green last Friday.

Paul’s longtime neighbour, Rene Boucher, was charged with misdemeanour fourth-degree assault, but his motives for committing the alleged crime remain elusive.

Some media reports have suggested that Boucher attacked Paul after the two had a landscaping-related dispute, but on Wednesday, Paul’s chief strategist, Doug Stafford, tweeted out a link to a Breitbart News article and a Washington Examiner story casting doubt on this theory.

Some of Paul’s neighbours told the outlets that reports of a landscaping dispute are “erroneous and unfounded.”

“The Pauls are and always have been great neighbours and friends. They take pride in their property and maintain it accordingly,” one neighbour, Travis Creed, told Breitbart. “Rand has enjoyed working on and maintaining his lawn for as long as I have known him. He was attacked on his property for no apparent reason and suffered serious injury. That is the only fact known at this time.”

Paul’s injuries are also more severe than reported both over the weekend and earlier this week. On Wednesday, the senator tweeted that he has six — rather than five — broken ribs and a pleural effusion, which is a fluid build-up around the lungs. His recovery will likely take months.

Boucher, a 59-year-old anesthesiologist, has admitted to tackling Paul, who is an ophthalmologist. The two have been neighbours for 17 years.

Jeff Jones, a registered nurse who worked with Boucher, told The Washington Post that Boucher’s politics were “liberal” and that Boucher “was active on social media and said some negative things about the Republican agenda” leading some to suggest that the attack was politically motivated.

But Boucher’s lawyer said in a statement on Monday that the incident had “absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas” and described the dispute between the two men as “trivial.”

Meanwhile, Stafford said the charges against Boucher involve “state and federal authorities,” but did not clarify why federal law enforcement would be involved in the matter.

Allan Smith contributed to this report.

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