The world wondered what possessed Rene Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist, to assault his neighbor Rand Paul in November, breaking at least six of the Kentucky senator's ribs and damaging his lungs. Was it political, stemming from Boucher's allegiance to the Democratic Party? Was Donald Trump's "sinister banality" to blame?
As the announcement from the Justice Department sums it up, "Boucher allegedly witnessed the victim stack brush onto a pile near the victim's property and 'had enough.' Boucher ran onto the victim's property and tackled the victim. As a result of this assault, the victim suffered multiple fractured ribs and subsequently contracted and required medical attention for pneumonia. Boucher admitted the assault but denied it was politically motivated."
The charges are federal because Boucher chose to attack a senator, and that's not a typical state assault charge but a federal offense. The Justice Department's announcement quotes Amy Hess of the FBI's Louisville field office: "[T]he FBI will not tolerate violence directed against members of Congress. Those who choose to assault any federal official are certain to face serious consequences."
Boucher has already pleaded guilty to the charge, though "no date has been set for the taking of his guilty plea and the imposition of sentence." He could face as many as 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. UPDATE: Federal prosecutors though will be seeking a 21 month sentence for Boucher