U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was awarded more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses on Jan. 30 in his lawsuit against a neighbor who tackled him and broke several of his ribs in a dispute over lawn maintenance, according to an article on apnews.com.
Paul had testified during the three-day trial in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that he got off his riding mower to pick up a stick and was straightening up when Boucher hit him from behind with such force causing both men to go flying through the air. He said he was wearing noise-canceling headphones and didn’t hear Boucher coming toward him.
The attack in Paul’s yard was reportedly motivated by lawn care, not politics. Boucher told the jury that he attacked Paul after watching him begin forming a brush pile near their property line.
According to the article, Boucher said that the day before the attack, he had burned another brush pile that Paul had created near the boundary. He doused that pile with gasoline and set it on fire, causing an explosion that burned his face, neck and arms. Boucher testified he had hauled away previous brush piles accumulated by Paul without asking the senator.
Boucher testified that he tried to talk to Paul about his lawn maintenance concerns but was rebuffed. Paul maintained in his testimony that he kept any brush pile on his own property.
The jury awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus $7,834 for medical expenses.
According to the article, Paul said in a statement that he hoped the verdict would send a “clear message that violence is not the answer — anytime, anywhere.”
Boucher acknowledged he wasn’t thinking rationally and called it “two minutes of my life I wish I could take back.” Boucher’s attorney said they would appeal.
Boucher has already served a 30-day prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting a member of Congress. Boucher also paid a $10,000 fine and served 100 hours of community service in the criminal case.