Sen. Rand Paul wins big in trial against long time neighbor

U.S. Senate incumbent Rand Paul ended his campaign rally in his hometown of Bowling Green by thanking supporters. Paul is running to be re-elected for a Kentucky seat in the U.S. Senate. Paul has already served one term.

Jake Dressman

A jury at the Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green awarded Sen. Rand Paul over $582,000 Wednesday, Jan. 30, in a three-day trial against his neighbor.

Rene Boucher, Paul’s immediate neighbor, was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault in November 2017. During the assault, Paul fractured six ribs.

Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, said they would appeal the decision.

“This far exceeds anything we were expecting,” Baker said.

Boucher will owe $7,834 for medical expenses, $200,000 for Paul’s mental and physical suffering and a $375,000 punitive fine that is meant to deter others from similar actions.

“This lawsuit wasn’t about me,” Paul tweeted Jan. 30. “It was about all of us and what we find acceptable as a society. We need to send a clear message that violence is not the answer anytime, anywhere.”

Boucher originally pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days along with a $10,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. He was initially charged with fourth-degree assault and a Class A misdemeanor, but it was bumped up to a felony assault by a federal court.

Paul’s attorney, Tom Kerrick, said that wasn’t a fitting punishment for Boucher’s “malicious and cowardly behavior.”

“If we err, we err on the side of the victim, and not the criminal,” Kerrick said. “An assault is a common-sense case.”

The two attorneys each gave a different side to the story in their closing arguments.

Baker said the incident began in 2017 when Boucher cut Paul’s maple tree that was encroaching into his yard. In response, Paul piled stacks of brush onto their property line. Boucher cleaned up the first two piles, but he burned the third pile and himself in the process, he said.

“There were serious burns on his face, neck and both of his arms,” Boucher said. The next day, Paul allegedly began reconstructing the burnt pile of brush. Boucher ran outside and blindsided Paul, fracturing his ribs.

“If I had any two minutes of my life to do over, this would be it,” Boucher said. He apologized to Paul and his family at his first opportunity to do so, Baker said.

Baker asked the jury not to punish Boucher any more due to his clean record prior to the assault, military service, medical service to the community as a former anesthesiologist and the amount his reputation had.

However, nine of the 12 jurors settled on the $375,000 punitive fine after deliberating for just under two hours. The other two sums were unanimous decisions. Paul, also a former doctor, recovered quickly in respect to the severity of his injuries. He took only Ibuprofen during his recovery, fearing the addictiveness of opioids, and was back to work in 10 days. Paul was able to go skiing, golfing, bicycling and more soon after the assault, Baker said.

However, Kerrick said there was no question this was a serious injury, as Paul got pneumonia twice and one hernia in 2018 due to the assault.

“There was excruciating pain,” Kerrick said. “Every breath, every cough.”

Although Paul never went to the hospital for his injuries, he told the jury his pain on a scale of one to 10 was a 20 immediately after the attack.

Paul and Boucher remain neighbors.

News reporter Jake Dressman can be reached at 270-745-6011 and jacob. [email protected]