Apparently, Kentuckians have different criteria for what constitutes a “serious” injury than we do in the rest of the country.
To wit, the Washington Post reported Monday that law-enforcement authorities are considering upgrading the charges against Rene Boucher after the Bowling Green doctor trespassed on Rand Paul’s property in Bowling Green, Kentucky and tackled the senator, resulting in what Paul’s staff at the time described as “minor” injuries but were late yesterday revealed to be five cracked ribs.
Few details about the attack or its motives have been released. Boucher, a 59-year-old doctor who reportedly once practiced medicine with Paul and has lived next door to the man for 17 years. The two were reportedly friends, until a mysterious dispute created a rift between the men that turned violent on Saturday.
The man accused of attacking Sen. Rand Paul on Friday may soon face more serious criminal charges because the Kentucky Republican is suffering from several rib injuries, law enforcement officials said Monday.
An attorney for the man charged in the attack, Rene Boucher, also said Monday that the dispute had “absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas” and was merely “a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial."
But new information about the extent of Paul’s injuries could prompt prosecutors to charge Boucher with a felony, according to Trooper Jeremy Hodges, a spokesman for the Kentucky State Police.
Paul, a second-term senator and former GOP presidential candidate, was attacked by Boucher, 59, on Friday outside his home in Bowling Green, Ky., police said. Boucher was charged with fourth-degree assault and released on Saturday on $7,500 bond.
Boucher’s lawyer released a cryptic statement about his client’s motivation in assaulting a sitting United States senator, saying the attack was the result of a personal dispute between the two men, and had nothing to do with politics. He added that the matter in contention would be considered “trivial” by most people.
The misdemeanor charge against Boucher applies to cases in which no weapon is involved and the victim receives minor injuries, Hodges said.
At the time of the assault, Paul had “trouble breathing due to a potential rib injury,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Warren County District Court. On Sunday, Paul’s office announced he was recovering from five rib fractures, including three displaced fractures, meaning the bones are partly or completely cracked. He has lung contusions, or bruises, caused by the broken ribs, and his recovery could last several months, his office said.
“It requires serious physical injury in order for someone to be charged with a felony,” Hodges said. “Our arresting officer will submit his completed case report and then the prosecutors will make a decision about whether to upgrade those charges,” said a spokesman for the Kentucky state police.
Boucher’s lawyer also noted that both men are “prominent members of the Bowling Green medical community."
Paul did not return to Washington on Monday as he normally would for U.S. Senate proceedings, according to his chief of staff, Doug Stafford.
“It is a pending, serious criminal matter involving state and federal authorities. We won’t have any further comments at this time,” Stafford said in an email.
Paul’s fellow Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell wished Paul a speedy recovery on Monday. McConnell told reporters in Kentucky that Paul’s absence creates another challenge in what he described as a daily “Maalox moment” prompted by the struggles to hold together his 52-member caucus.
“It’s potentially a challenge” any time a Republican senator is absent from the Senate, McConnell added, because his caucus isn’t “always totally in lockstep."
Given everything hanging in the balance with tax reform, and initial reports that Boucher is a registered Democrat, we can’t help but wonder: What could drive a 59-year-old medical doctor to - against all better judgment - sack one of his neighbors?
Of course, we’re not the only ones looking for answers...
Rand Paul was tackled and broke 5 ribs while mowing his lawn. I have so many questions about this story.... pic.twitter.com/aI3aP1tP3z— Cullen Roche (@cullenroche) November 6, 2017