-- The neighbor of Sen. Rand Paul, who's accused of attacking the Kentucky Republican over a dispute about lawn debris, was charged with a felony today.
Rene A. Boucher, 58, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, was charged with assaulting a member of Congress resulting in personal injury, a felony under federal law, Josh J. Minkler, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announced today.
“Assaulting a member of Congress is an offense we take very seriously,” Minkler noted in a statement. “Those who choose to commit such an act will be held accountable.”
On Nov. 3, Paul was mowing his yard while wearing headphones when Boucher allegedly witnessed the senator stack brush onto a pile near their shared property line, according to court documents.
Boucher then allegedly ran onto the Pauls' property and tackled the senator off of his riding lawnmower, court documents state. As a result of the incident, Paul suffered multiple fractured ribs and later contracted pneumonia, which required medical attention. Boucher admitted the assault but denied it was politically motivated, according to court documents.
Boucher has signed a plea agreement admitting to the charge, but the agreement has not yet been filed in court, according to Minkler. Boucher is expected to be sentenced at a later date.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana says Boucher faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
A spokesman for the senator declined to comment on the charge.
Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, said his client is hoping for a probated sentence and is “very remorseful” for his actions.
In November, Boucher pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree assault in the incident, which is expected to be superseded by this charge and plea, according to the lawyer.