Rene Boucher, the neighbor who tackled and seriously injured Senator Rand Paul back in November, has signed a plea agreement in which he agrees to plead guilty to a federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress. From the Washington Post:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced Friday that Rene Boucher, 59, would face a count of assaulting a member of Congress after becoming angry and “had enough” after seeing Paul stack more brush on a pile near his yard. Court documents say Boucher intends to enter a guilty plea.
Police said Boucher charged and tackled Paul, 54, in the yard of his Bowling Green, Ky. home on Nov. 3. Boucher had previously been charged with a misdemeanor in a county court and had pleaded not guilty…
In late November, Boucher’s attorney, Matthew J. Baker, told The Washington Post there was no political motivation for the assault and it was tied to simmering disagreements between the successful doctors about the maintenance — “or lack of it” — of their adjacent properties.
Kelley Paul, the wife of the senator, dismissed that explanation in a November op-ed for CNN and Rand Paul said the motivation was beside the point in a Jan. 7 interview with “Face the Nation.”
Boucher, through his attorney, has claimed all along that the incident had nothing to do with politics. However, the claim that the attack was the result of a lawn-care dispute seemed like a stretch given that, according to Rand Paul, there was no argument or discussion of any kind prior to the tackle. In fact, Sen. Paul said he hadn’t spoken to Boucher in 10 years. An NBC report all the way back in November suggested both lawn care and politics may have prompted the attack. But as the Post pointed out (also in November), there was a strong motive for Boucher to claim his attack was not political:
A political motivation would drastically increase the likelihood of federal charges under a law that makes it a crime to assault a member of Congress “on account of the performance of official duties.” That charge comes with a possible sentence of eight years — 20 if a weapon is involved — as opposed to the 12-month sentence and $500 fine Boucher faces.
Obviously, Boucher is now facing a federal felony charge, so he wasn’t able to avoid it. And yet it seems he is not going to admit any political motive for the attack as part of his plea. Maybe he’s telling the truth or maybe this represents a compromise of sorts to spare the government going to trial.
The full press release doesn’t appear to be up on the DOJ site yet, but here it is from CBS News. It says a date has not been set for Boucher’s guilty plea. Boucher faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
JUST IN: Rene Boucher, neighbor who attacked Sen. @RandPaul, is being charged with "assaulting a member of congress resulting in personal injury, a felony under federal law," the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana says
Boucher has signed a plea agreement pic.twitter.com/2b6qcqsEzF
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 19, 2018