The attack on Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul by his neighbor of nearly 17 years had “absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agenda,” the attacker’s lawyer told Fox News in a statement Monday.
The Republican senator broke five ribs after Rene Boucher, 59, “blindsided” him and tackled him to the ground as Paul was mowing his lawn Friday in Bowling Green, Kentucky, according to reports.
“It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial,” Boucher’s lawyer Matthew Baker said. “We sincerely hope that Senator Paul is doing well and that these two gentlemen can get back to being neighbors as quickly as possible.”
While Paul was originally said to be doing “fine” after the attack, the situation got more complicated Sunday when the full extent of his injuries was reported. Paul’s type of injury “is also accompanied by severe pain that can last weeks to months,” an aide said in a statement.
It is unclear when Paul will return to the Senate.
Voter records from March 2017 indicate Boucher is a registered Democrat, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Boucher’s Facebook page, which has since been taken down, contained numerous postings of news articles blasting President Donald Trump. He also frequently shared posts from the left-leaning advocacy group Occupy Democrats.
The FBI responded to the incident Friday to investigate whether it was politically motivated. Federal investigators and spokespeople have declined to elaborate to reporters on the progress of that investigation.
Paul, who ran for president in 2016, has become well-known nationally as an unrelenting advocate for small-government, libertarian policies.
Former Bowling Green City Commissioner Jim Bullington, who knows both Paul and Boucher, characterized the latter as a socialist in an interview with The Washington Post.
“He’s pretty much the opposite of Rand Paul in every way,” Bullington said.
Boucher was held for nearly an entire day before posting $7,500 bail for his release Saturday. Law enforcement charged him with fourth-degree assault. He could face up to a year in prison for those charges.
Paul was mowing his lawn with earplugs on when he stepped away from the machine and Boucher tackled him from behind. It is unclear what immediately followed, but the senator broke five ribs.
If Paul’s conditions worsen, more charges could be brought against Boucher, potentially opening his case up to a more lengthy punishment, legal experts have said.
Public records indicate Boucher has worked as an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist in the Bowling Green area for decades. He is affiliated with the Medical Center at Bowling Green and appears to have run a pain management practice from his home.
In 2005, Boucher was a guest on home shopping network QVC to promote the Therm-a-Vest, a heated pain relief vest he invented.
Before his election to the Senate in 2010, Paul was an eye doctor specializing in glaucoma and cataract removal surgeries and LASIK vision correction.
The two worked together in Bowling Green when they were practicing physicians, Baker said.