Rand Paul Suspect Appears in Court, Motive a Mystery

Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor appeared in court Thursday and offered no explanation for allegedly attacking the senator and breaking his ribs.

Dressed in a suit and joined by attorney Matthew Baker, Rene Boucher pleaded not guilty to a charge of fourth-degree misdemeanor assault, leaving the mystery lingering of the reasons behind the altercation.

Sources told NBC News that the dispute began when Paul was attacked from behind while mowing his lawn while wearing headphones.

The motive remains unclear, though possible feuds over the property line, landscaping and politics have all been floated. Boucher’s lawyer said it was not politics, but that the conflict arose from a matter “most people would regard as trivial.”

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Rene Boucher, center, appears in court for an arraignment hearing with his attorney Matt Baker, left, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, at the Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Boucher pleaded not guilty to charges that he assaulted his neighbor, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Austin Anthony / Daily News via AP

The current charge carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail, but police told The Washington Post that the charges could rise to felony assault due to the severity of the senator’s injuries. Paul tweeted that he had six fractured ribs.

Image: Rene Boucher Image: Rene Boucher

Rene Boucher, who has been arrested and charged with assaulting and injuring U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Warren County Regional Jail via AP

Pressed by reporters outside the district court about the status of the charges, Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken said the charges could still change.

“Both the FBI and the Kentucky state police are continuing their investigation,” she said.

Assaulting a member of Congress is a federal crime.

Boucher, who like Paul is a doctor, is required to stay 1,000 feet away from the senator unless the neighbor is in his home, when the distance is reduced to 200 feet. Violating the stay-away order, the judge noted, would be a separate misdemeanor.