LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The man accused of tackling U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in the Kentucky lawmaker’s yard has been charged with assaulting a member of Congress as part of a federal plea agreement. And his lawyer confirmed what’s long been suggested by neighbors: The attack stemmed from a dispute about yard maintenance.
No date has been set for Rene Boucher’s guilty plea for the attack on the Republican senator, said Josh J. Minkler, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
“Assaulting a member of Congress is an offense we take very seriously,” Minkler said in a release. “Those who choose to commit such an act will be held accountable.”
Boucher faces possible prison time for the attack, which his attorney says “he’s very regretful” about and had to do with the upkeep of their yards.
“This is over a matter that most people would regard as trivial,” Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, said in a phone interview Friday. “It has to do with yards and the maintenance of those.”
Boucher is “very meticulous” about how he maintains his yard, while Paul takes “a much different approach” to the upkeep of his property, Baker said.
“It all goes to large piles of leaves and branches and yard clutter that were placed on the property line,” Baker said.
Some neighbors had speculated the attack was motivated by a dispute over yard debris. But Paul’s office has rejected that. Paul told the Fox News Channel in November that ultimately, the motive does not matter.
Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist, already faces a misdemeanor assault charge in state court in Kentucky. He has pleaded not guilty to that charge. Paul and Boucher are longtime neighbors.
Paul, a former presidential candidate, was attacked Nov. 3 while mowing his lawn at his Bowling Green home. A close friend of Paul’s said the senator had gotten off his riding lawn mower to remove a limb when he was tackled from behind.
Paul suffered six broken ribs in the attack.
Baker said the attack was “completely, 100 percent out of character” for Boucher. He said his client is looking forward to getting the case resolved.
Boucher faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in the federal case.
“He is facing the possibility of incarceration, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be anything toward the top end,” Baker said.
Minkler’s office was assigned the case after a U.S. attorney in Kentucky recused himself. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Louisville office.