Attorney says attack on Senator Rand Paul was not political

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - The attorney for the man accused of attacking Senator Rand Paul says it was not about politics. Instead, he says it was a trivial dispute that escalated into the assault.

Photo: Warren County Regional Jail Cutout Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

Attorney Matthew Baker, who is representing the suspect, Rene Boucher, said Boucher and Paul have been neighbors for 17 years, and the two have even worked together as doctors. He said it was a "long-standing disagreement" that boiled over Friday.

"The unfortunate occurrence of November 3 has absolutely nothing to do with either's politics or political agendas," Baker said in a statement. "It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial. We sincerely hope that Senator Paul is doing well and that these two gentlemen can get back to being neighbors as quickly as possible."

Baker told WBKO-TV in Bowling Green: "It's just a very, very, hugely regrettable incident that would not happen again in a million years."

Officials said Sen. Paul is now recovering from five broken ribs after police say Boucher admitted to going on the senator's property and tackling him.

A friend of Paul's The Washington Post that Paul was mowing his lawn and wearing ear plugs, when he stepped off the riding mower and was "blindsided."

According to CNN and The New York Times, neighbors say the two have a long-running landscaping dispute.

The senator himself has not said much publicly, other than a tweet on Sunday thanking everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

At a news conference on Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky, wished his fellow senator well, and acknowledged that Paul's absence in Washington creates a challenge for his majority caucus.

"We're thinking about him and hoping he'll recover quickly and be able to come back to the Senate very soon," Sen. McConnell said.

It is unclear when Sen. Paul will return to work. A senior adviser of his told the Associated Press that the senator is in a lot of pain and has trouble moving around.

Boucher was initially charged with fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. Kentucky State Police say they are still investigating the incident, which means more (and/or more serious) charges could still come, especially after the severity of Sen. Paul's injuries was worse than first thought.

Boucher is expected to be in court in Warren County on Thursday.

The Latest on U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's assault at his home (all times local) via AP:

2:35 p.m.

An attorney for the man accused of assaulting U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says the attack was not politically motivated but was a regrettable dispute he said most people would regard as trivial.

Matthew Baker sent a statement to The Associated Press on behalf of his client, 59-year-old anesthesiologist Rene Broucher. Police have charged Broucher with misdemeanor assault after he admitted to tackling Paul from behind. A senior adviser said Paul is recovering from five broken ribs.

Baker did not say what the dispute was about. He said the two men have been neighbors for 17 years and worked together when they were both practicing physicians. He said he hopes Paul is doing well and the two men can get back to being neighbors soon.

SUNDAY 5:15 p.m.

A senior adviser for Rand Paul says the U.S. senator is recovering from five broken ribs following an assault at his home.

Doug Stafford said it is unclear when Paul will return to work since he is in considerable pain and has difficulty getting around, including flying. Stafford said Sunday that the broken ribs include three displaced fractures, which can lead to life-threatening injuries. The severe pain can last for weeks or months.

Police arrested 59-year-old Rene Boucher on Saturday and charged him with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault with a minor injury. Boucher is accused of attacking Paul on Friday, but officials have not released a motive.

Boucher lives next door to Paul and his wife, according to Warren County property records.

Boucher was released from jail on Saturday. He has not returned a call seeking comment.


1:10 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he has received overwhelming support following an injury after an assault at his home.

Paul posted on his Twitter account Sunday that he and his wife were grateful for the support "after Friday's unfortunate incident." Kentucky State Police say Paul had minor injuries. Police arrested 59-year-old Rene Boucher and charged him with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault with a minor injury.

Boucher was taken to the Warren County Jail, where records show he was released on Saturday on a $7,500 bond with a court date scheduled for Thursday. Boucher did not return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

A spokeswoman for Paul said the senator was "blindsided" by the assault but did not provide more details.

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