A neighbor of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky intends to plead guilty to a federal felony charge after he tackled the senator in November in an assault set off by the placement of a pile of brush, the man’s lawyer said on Friday.
The neighbor, Rene A. Boucher, 58, of Bowling Green, Ky., was charged on Friday with assaulting a member of Congress resulting in personal injury, the United States attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Josh J. Minkler, said in a news release.
Mr. Boucher has signed a plea agreement and will plead guilty, but no date has been set for his court appearance, his lawyer, Matthew J. Baker, said in a phone interview. Federal prosecutors will seek a prison sentence of up to 21 months, Mr. Baker said, adding that he would seek probation for his client. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The episode happened on Nov. 3, 2017, when Mr. Paul was mowing his yard while wearing headphones, officials said.
Mr. Boucher saw Mr. Paul stack brush in a pile near their property line, and Mr. Boucher “had enough,” according to the release. He ran onto Mr. Paul’s property and tackled him.
He suffered several broken ribs and bruises to his lungs. One of Mr. Paul’s advisers, Doug Stafford, told The New York Times in November that Mr. Paul had cuts to his nose and mouth and had trouble breathing. He attributed the injuries to “high-velocity severe force.”
Mr. Paul later contracted pneumonia and had to seek medical treatment. He returned to work 10 days after the attack.
The attack against Mr. Paul, a Republican, was not politically motivated, Mr. Baker said, adding that it was “a matter that most people would regard as trivial.” The dispute has been a longstanding difference between the two, who have been neighbors for 17 years, Mr. Baker said.
He said Mr. Boucher is “very meticulous” about how he maintains his property, while Mr. Paul “has a little bit of a different approach.” The lawns in the gated community of River Green in Bowling Green are “picture perfect,” Mr. Baker said, adding that the senator maintains piles of compost and lawn clippings around his property.
Mr. Boucher has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in state court in Kentucky. Mr. Baker said he expected that charge to be dismissed in conjunction with a guilty plea in federal court. Mr. Boucher is free on $7,500 bond in the state case.
The United States attorney for the Southern District of Indiana was assigned the case after the United States attorney for the Western District of Kentucky recused itself.
“Just as we are committed to protecting the American people, the F.B.I. will not tolerate violence directed against members of Congress,” said Amy S. Hess, special agent in charge of the F.B.I. field office in Louisville, Ky., which investigated.
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