Politics

New Court Documents Reveal Details of Yard Dispute That Hospitalized Rand Paul

Kentucky senator repeatedly stacked branches by property line, angering neighbor

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., broke six ribs in an altercation with his neighbor last November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:55 p.m. | New court documents in Kentucky shed more light on details from the yard dispute that landed Sen. Rand Paul in the hospital with six broken ribs, among other thoracic complications, and could land his neighbor in prison.

Rene Boucher, 60, didn’t like where his neighbor of 17 years, Paul, was putting his yard debris.

In September 2017 the junior GOP senator from Kentucky stacked a 10-foot-wide mound of branches near the line separating his property in Bowling Green from Boucher’s.

Boucher found the pile of tree limbs and other flotsam “unsightly,” according to new court documents first reported by The Associated Press. Even though it wasn’t on his property, Boucher could see the pile from his back patio.

It sat there for weeks.

In October, Boucher had the branches loaded into portable dumpsters and carried off.

But then, other piles appeared — two of them.

Boucher poured gasoline on the woodpiles and incinerated them, giving himself second-degree burns in the process.

But Paul’s autumn yard work was not complete.

The next day, the senator blew leaves into Boucher’s yard with his lawnmower. He made another branch pile in the same spot as the previous ones.

The yard debris allegations are a “false narrative,” said Paul’s Deputy Chief of Staff Sergio Gor. In the decade preceding the incident, Paul had never spoken with the man who attacked him, Gor said.

But Boucher attacked.

“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 court memorandum from Boucher’s defense team said.

The blindside tackle left Paul with a half-dozen broken ribs and injured lungs. He later developed pneumonia and missed time in Washington to recover.

Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, is asking the federal judge in the case to grant probation, arguing in the filing that “Dr. Boucher has been a pillar of his community, a solid citizen, a family man and a devout Christian.”

The prosecution is seeking 21 months in prison.

Boucher, who pleaded guilty in January, has denied the tackle was politically motivated — even as neighbors disputed media reports about the seriousness of the yard battle. If evidence showed it was politically motivated, Boucher would face far harsher penalties since Paul is an elected official in the federal government.

“Dr. Boucher has adamantly denied any such political motivations throughout, as even the suggestion of them is completely unfounded and simply not true,” his defense wrote in the memorandum.

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