A neighbor who attacked U.S. Sen. Rand Paul at his Kentucky home last fall "lost his temper" over yard debris that Paul allegedly placed on the property line between their homes, according to documents filed in federal court last week.
The neighbor, Dr. Rene Boucher, has pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress in connection with the Nov. 3 confrontation and is due to be sentenced Friday. Prosecutors are seeking a 21-month prison sentence. Boucher is asking a judge to grant probation in the case.
A sentencing memorandum filed by Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, said Paul repeatedly placed "unsightly" yard debris near the property line. On the day before the attack, Boucher burned some debris left by Paul, according to the document obtained by the Daily News of Bowling Green. The next day, Paul placed more debris on the spot where the pile had been burned, it said.
The filing argued that putting Boucher in prison would serve no useful purpose.
"Other than the isolated incident that is in issue, Dr. Boucher has been a pillar of his community, a solid citizen, a family man and a devout Christian," Baker wrote.
Paul, though, disputes that there was ever a dispute between the two men.
“Before Senator Paul was violently attacked from behind, he had no conversations or discussions with the attacker,” Paul's deputy chief of staff, Sergio Gor, said in a statement. “There was no ‘longstanding dispute.’ This description is untrue. It is impossible to have a dispute when no words of disagreement were ever spoken --neither immediately nor at any other time before the attack occurred. In the decade prior to the attack, Senator Paul had no contact with the attacker."
Gor added: "Any description of this attack that implies a 'yard dispute' justifies such violence misses the point.”
But the court filing said the disagreement over yard debris dates back to September 2017, when Paul piled a 10-foot-wide stack of limbs onto a spot near Boucher's property. The pile sat until October, when Boucher picked it up and hauled it away in portable dumpsters.
"Even though this debris was not on Dr. Boucher's property, he viewed it as unsightly — as it was placed directly in his line of sight from his patio and the back door of his house," the court record said.
Two more piles of debris appeared in the same month, and Boucher burned the pile on Nov. 2. Boucher used gasoline and suffered second-degree burns that he needed treatment for, the memorandum said.
The next day, Paul used his lawnmower to blow leaves onto Boucher's yard and then made another branch pile in the same spot, it said.
"As Dr. Boucher has stated throughout, he lost his temper and tackled Rand Paul as Paul was carrying branches from another location on his property and placing them on the property line," the memorandum said.
Boucher also denied that the dispute was fueled by political differences with Paul, a Republican.
"Dr. Boucher has adamantly denied any such political motivations throughout, as even the suggestion of them is completely unfounded and simply not true," the memorandum said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.