Rene Boucher plans to report to prison next month to begin serving his sentence for his 2017 assault of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul outside his former neighbor’s home.
Special Prosecutor Brad Shepard said Tuesday in a status hearing on the criminal case held via video conferencing that the federal government will not appeal the sentence imposed on Boucher last month by Special Judge Matthew Leitman, which calls for Boucher to spend eight months in prison and six months under home confinement.
Boucher will get credit for the 30 days he previously served when he was first sentenced after pleading guilty to assaulting a member of Congress.
Boucher has received notification to report to the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Ga., on Sept. 21 to begin serving his sentence, according to his attorney, Matt Baker.
“Dr. Boucher would prefer to begin serving his sentence as directed on Sept. 21,” Baker said.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons website said the Jesup facility has no active COVID-19 cases among its inmate population, although 18 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 and have active cases, while 254 inmates are listed as having recovered from the virus.
Boucher and Baker briefly consulted during Tuesday’s hearing about whether to report to prison during the pandemic before Boucher indicated his preference.
Leitman told Baker he was welcome to request another hearing before Sept. 21 in the event of an outbreak at Jesup.
“I would have no problem considering a request to delay the report date based on any COVID situation,” Leitman said.
Barring another turn of events, Tuesday’s hearing may mark an end to the proceedings in a criminal case that has taken many turns.
Boucher was arrested shortly after leveling Paul with a running tackle Nov. 3, 2017, as the senator was doing yard work at his home in Bowling Green’s Rivergreen subdivision.
The tackle broke several of Paul’s ribs and led to the development of pneumonia on two occasions.
One of Paul’s lungs later became infected, and he had surgery last year to remove the infected part.
At a hearing last month, Paul said scar tissue on the damaged lung had doubled in size and he continued to have difficulty breathing several months after the assault.
Boucher was charged originally in state court with a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree assault, but the case was transferred to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky and a federal felony charge was brought against the retired doctor.
Boucher testified that the assault was motivated by Paul depositing piles of yard waste in an area of his yard near the property line he shared with Boucher when they were neighbors.
The night before the incident, Boucher suffered burn injuries while using gasoline in an attempt to destroy a debris pile.
Paul has testified that he and Boucher rarely spoke with each other and he was not aware of any dispute the two had.
Special Judge Marianne Battani imposed a 30-day sentence on Boucher in 2018, fined him $10,000 and ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service.
Boucher completed those obligations, but Shepard appealed the punishment on the grounds that it failed to take into account the extent of Paul’s injuries.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed, issuing a ruling last year that vacated the sentence and returned the case to the district court, where it was taken up by Leitman after health issues forced Battani away from the bench.
Shepard had been seeking a 21-month prison sentence for Boucher.
Last month, Leitman imposed the sentence calling for eight months in prison plus six months of home confinement, saying that while there was no way to downplay the seriousness of Paul’s injuries, Boucher’s lack of prior criminal history, his military service and community involvement through his church were points in his favor.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdaily news.com.