The neighbor who tackled Sen. Rand Paul in November will plead guilty to a felony assault charge, the Justice Department announced Friday.
Rene Boucher tackled Paul from behind last year while the senator was mowing his lawn in Bowling Green, Kentucky, The Daily Caller reported.
Paul was seriously injured from the attack. Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief strategist, said in a statement that the senator sustained five rib fractures, including three displaced fractures. The broken ribs left the senator with bruises on his lungs.
“This type of injury is caused by high velocity severe force. It is not clear exactly how soon he will return to work, as the pain is considerable as is the difficulty in getting around, including flying,” Stafford said after the attack.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh J. Mikler filed the federal charges against Boucher.
“Assaulting a member of Congress is an offense we take very seriously,” Minkler said in a statement. “Those who choose to commit such an act will be held accountable.”
Boucher signed the plea agreement, but a date has not yet been set for entering the guilty plea or for his sentencing, according to Politico.
He could face charges of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Boucher posted many anti-Republican rants on his Facebook page, according to The Daily Caller, but he denied attacking the senator for political reasons.
Boucher was promptly arrested after the attack and charged with 4th degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail.
“I was working in my yard with my ear muffs on to protect my hearing from mower. And I had gotten off the mower facing downhill, and the attacker came running,” he told Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel.
Facing the other way as he cut his grass and wearing noise-canceling ear muffs, Paul had no way of knowing the attack was coming.
“I never saw him, never had a conversation. In fact, the weird thing is I haven’t talked to him in ten years.”
The junior senator from Kentucky said Boucher spoke to him following the attack, but noted that what he said didn’t really matter because there is no excuse for violence.
“After my ribs were broken, then he said things to me to try to indicate why he was unhappy. But I think the, I guess to me the bottom line is, it isn’t so important. If someone mugs you, is it really justified for any reason?” Paul explained.
Boucher’s attorney said the assault was prompted by “a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.”
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