A sitting U.S. senator has suffered six broken ribs and fluid buildup around his lungs after he was viciously attacked at his Kentucky home Friday while mowing his lawn – and neighbors say the media are now spreading “fake news” about the motive behind the brutal ambush.
The mainstream media have reported that attacker Rene Boucher had a longstanding dispute with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., over lawn and tree maintenance, but at least seven neighbors are refuting that claim. In Twitter posts, Sen. Paul himself suggested the assault had nothing to do with landscape issues.
Boucher – a 59-year-old retired physician and registered Democrat who is vehemently anti-Trump and has made many politically polarizing posts on Facebook – pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he assaulted Paul. During his short arraignment, Boucher remained silent and only responded, “Yes, Sir” to the judge.
He could receive up to a year in jail if he’s found guilty of fourth-degree assault.
A pre-trial court date was set for Nov. 30 by Warren County District Judge Brent Potter, who ordered Boucher to stay at least 1,000 feet away from the senator and his family, unless Boucher is inside his own home. Boucher is also prohibited from possessing firearms.
Sen. Paul escaped another horrifying attack by a leftist in June when gunman James Hodgkinson sprayed bullets at a GOP congressional practice, shooting and seriously wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., as well as a congressional aide and two members of the Capitol Police who heroically defended the more than 13 congressmen at the park. In that case, the attacker was a 66-year-old supporter and campaign volunteer of Bernie Sanders with far-left political views. As WND reported, Sen. Paul, who was present on the field, estimated between 50 and 60 shots were fired. Hodgkinson was wounded in a shootout and later died at a local hospital.
Boucher, an anesthesiologist, has called for the impeachment of President Trump on his social media accounts. He’s also reportedly called on special counsel Robert Mueller to “fry Trump’s gonads.” He supports gun control and health-care reform. Boucher has also shared posts from Occupy Democrats. He appears to like CNN, Jake Tapper, Fareed Zakaria, Chris Matthews and Stephen Colbert. His Facebook page has been made unavailable.
Travis Creed, a neighbor in the gated community, told the Washington Examiner only Boucher knows why he assaulted a senator. But, he says, there were no landscaping maintenance disputes.
“The stories of a ‘landscaping dispute’ or a dispute of any sort between Rand Paul and Rene Boucher are erroneous and unfounded,” Creed said. “The reason for Mr. Boucher’s bizarre attack is known only to him. Statements to the contrary are irresponsible and unnecessary.”
Creed continued: “Speculation regarding Boucher’s motive has led to an unfair characterization of the Pauls and their home. The Pauls are and always have been great neighbors and friends. They take pride in their property and maintain it accordingly. Rand has enjoyed working on and maintaining his lawn for as long as I have known him.”
Another neighbor, Robert Warner, confirmed that there were no issues with Paul’s yard.
“The Pauls’ landscaping looks just like everyone’s place in Rivergreen,” Warner said, according to the Washington Examiner. “Wish I could get him to cut my lawn. As a friend, neighbor and senator, Rand has been first class in every way. What I find amazing is the fact that he cuts his own grass. Our neighborhood is fortunate that the Pauls live here.”
Neighbor Dan Renshaw told the Examiner: “This episode is so wrong on so many levels, to be absolutely blindsided and attacked while mowing one’s lawn. I can’t imagine being in my yard pulling weeds or mowing and being totally attacked by anyone, much less my neighbor. It’s hard to believe he was out of jail the next morning on a $7,500 bail.”
Renshaw noted that this wasn’t just a random attack on another neighborhood resident. The victim is a sitting U.S. senator.
“What kind of individual does this?” he asked. “It’s scary when this hits close to home, to friends or neighbors.”
Renshaw said any report that this assault took place because of a landscaping dispute is ridiculous.
“Their lawn is always mowed. It’s such a lame excuse,” he said. “That could have killed Rand if a rib had punctured a lung, or worse yet, the heart. Just no excuse for this type of behavior from adults, especially educated adults.”
Alicia Stivers, who has served four years on the neighborhood association, told the Examiner that she’s in shock over the attack.
“I have never heard Sen. Paul speak an unkind word about anyone, let alone become physically violent. Which makes it all the more shocking that a next-door neighbor of many years who has not so much as exchanged an email or spoken word with Rand in several years, would race downhill and pummel Rand from behind,” Stivers said.
She continued: “I am wondering how the media can describe what took place as an altercation. Is it an altercation when no words are exchanged and one person is attacked from behind with no warning? I must check my dictionary.”
Rivergreen homeowner association president Rina Malmquist agreed with Stivers.
Jim Skaggs, said he considers both Boucher and Paul to be his friends. Skaggs is a retired engineer and developer who built the Rivergreen gated subdivision. He ‘s also former chairman of the Warren County Republican Party.
Initially, Skaggs told USA Today on Tuesday that Boucher and Paul had years of petty arguments over lawn trimmings and branches.
“I think this is something that has been festering,” Skaggs said Tuesday, adding that the two men disagreed over who is responsible for cutting tree limbs when they cross a property line.
The man said Boucher is a “near-perfect” neighbor, but Paul, he claimed, is more difficult to deal with due to his libertarian convictions.
“[Paul] was probably the hardest person to encourage to follow the (homeowner’s association regulations) of anyone out here because he has a strong belief in property rights,” said Skaggs, who claimed the problems started from the time Paul sought to become a resident of the gated community.
“The major problem was getting the house plans approved,” Skaggs said. “He wanted to actually own the property rights and build any kind of house he wanted. He didn’t end up doing that, but it was a struggle.”
But Skaggs appeared to change his story in a Thursday report published in USA Today.
He told the paper he didn’t actually witness the incident and has been made aware of other possible motives.
“I don’t think any human being would just take off and just attack the neighbor,” he said Thursday.
Sen. Paul’s staffer, senior adviser Doug Stafford, said there was no “longstanding dispute” between Boucher and Paul, as the mainstream media have reported.
“The Pauls have had no conversations with him in many years,” Stafford told ABC News. “The first ‘conversation’ with the attacker came after Sen. Paul’s ribs were broken. This was not a fight. It was a blind side, violent attack by a disturbed person.”
Paul’s friend, Rob Porter, told ABC even the senator doesn’t understand why he was attacked. He said Paul was wearing ear protection and mowing his lawn when he was assaulted.
The FBI and Kentucky State Police are reportedly investigating the assault.
Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, insists the attack wasn’t politically motivated, but he won’t say why his client assaulted Paul.
“It has nothing to do with politics,” Baker told ABC News. “It has zero to do with Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, anything along those lines. It has to do with a disagreement between two neighbors.”