The attorney for the man accused of assaulting U.S. Sen. Rand Paul outside the Republican lawmaker’s Bowling Green home said Monday that politics did not figure into the dispute, which was “over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.”
Rene Albert Boucher, 59, of 582 Rivergreen Lane, will be arraigned Thursday before Warren District Judge Brent Potter on a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree assault.
Boucher is accused of tackling Paul on Friday afternoon while the senator was outside his home in the gated community of Rivergreen just east of Bowling Green, where Boucher also lives.
Bowling Green attorney Matt Baker, who represents Boucher, said in the statement on behalf of his client that Boucher and Paul have been next-door neighbors for 17 years and the two worked together when they were both practicing physicians.
“The unfortunate occurrence of November 3 has absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas,” Baker said in an email sent to the Daily News from his law practice. “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’s statement does not specify a motive for the incident.
Paul – Kentucky’s junior senator since 2011 who unsuccessfully sought the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016 – has five rib fractures, including three displaced fractures, along with lung contusions caused by the broken ribs, Paul’s senior adviser Doug Stafford said Sunday.
Paul’s recovery could take several months, Stafford said.
In Kentucky, fourth-degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor in which a person intentionally or wantonly causes physical injury to another person. It is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of as much as $500.
With the disclosure Sunday of the extent of Paul’s injuries, local prosecutors are considering whether to pursue additional charges against Boucher. Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron, whose office prosecutes felony cases, said he and Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken will discuss how to go forward with this case.
“Once we obtain the complete investigation, Ms. Milliken and myself will review the facts and determine the appropriate charge to proceed with,” Cohron said in a text message Monday to the Daily News.
Milliken said further charges could be brought, based on the extent of Paul’s injuries.
Felony assault charges in Kentucky hinge largely on the extent of a victim’s injuries.
Third-degree assault typically involves an allegation of an injury to a peace officer, second-degree assault can be charged against a person who intentionally causes serious physical injury, while first-degree assault charges are typically brought against a person accused of using a weapon to cause serious physical injury.
Boucher is listed as an inactive physician retired from practicing medicine on the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure’s website, which states that he graduated in 1984 from the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and was licensed in 1998 to practice in Kentucky. His license expired in 2015, according to the state licensure board.
Boucher has practiced as an anesthesiologist and pain specialist in Bowling Green.
He developed the Therm-a-Vest, a cloth vest partially filled with rice and secured by Velcro straps that is designed to relieve back pain by delivering heat to the areas where the most pain is felt, for which he applied for a patent in 2003.
Stafford declined further comment in an email sent by Paul’s staff to the Daily News on Monday, saying that the case is a “pending, serious criminal matter involving state and federal authorities.”
The FBI is assisting state and local authorities to determine whether any violations of federal law occurred, according to The Washington Post.
A complaint filed Friday by Trooper Bartley Weaver of the Kentucky State Police in support of an arrest warrant said Paul experienced “trouble breathing due to a potential rib injury” after the senator was tackled from behind and forced to the ground. An initial statement issued by Paul’s staff Saturday afternoon said the senator was “blindsided.”
Paul, 54, an ophthalmologist, also had injuries to his face, including small cuts to his nose and mouth area, according to the complaint.
Boucher was arrested Friday afternoon and released Saturday from Warren County Regional Jail under a $7,500 bond.
Under the conditions of his release, Boucher is to have no contact with Paul, the senator’s family or offices and must remain at least 1,000 feet away from Paul, according to court records.
Boucher is also forbidden from possessing firearms or weapons of any kind as part of his release.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wished his colleague a speedy recovery Monday, acknowledging that Paul’s absence as he recovers creates another challenge in what’s become a daily “Maalox moment” while trying to keep together his slim Republican majority.
McConnell told reporters in Kentucky “it’s potentially a challenge” any time a Republican senator is absent from the Senate. He acknowledged that his 52-member majority caucus isn’t “always totally in lockstep.”
McConnell said he planned to talk with Paul later Monday.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.