This photo provided by the Warren County Regional Jail shows Rene Boucher, who has been arrested and charged with assaulting and injuring U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Kentucky State Police said in a news release Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 that Paul suffered injuries when 59-year-old Rene Boucher assaulted him at his Warren County home on Friday afternoon. (Warren County Regional Jail via AP)
Suspect in Rand Paul assault pleads not guilty
02:39 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

It’s been 19 days since Rand Paul was attacked by a neighbor while mowing his lawn. And on Wednesday, the story got even stranger as the wife of the Kentucky Republican Senator wrote a piece for CNN detailing the extent of the injuries he suffered in the attack.

“There have been several nights where I had my hand on my phone ready to call 911 when his breathing became so labored it was terrifying,” writes Kelley Paul of her husband.

What’s even more striking is how Kelley Paul describes the attack – and the motive behind it.

Writes Paul:

“It is incredibly hurtful that some news outlets have victimized Rand a second time as he struggles to recover, delighting in hateful headlines like “Not A Perfect Neighbor,” and concocting theories about an ‘ongoing dispute,’ based on nothing more than speculation from an attention-seeking person with no knowledge of anything to do with us…

…The only “dispute” existed solely in the attacker’s troubled mind, until, on a beautiful autumn day, he ran down the hill on our property and slammed his body into Rand’s lower back as he stood facing away, wearing noise canceling headphones to protect his ears from the lawnmower.”

Let’s take a step back.

In the immediate aftermath of the Nov. 3 attack at Paul’s home in Kentucky, several neighbors spoke out to CNN and other national news sites, insisting that it was the boiling point of a long-running dispute over flora and fauna.

“A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the two have been ‘quibbling’ over yard waste for years,” CNN wrote on Nov. 7. A statement by a lawyer for Rene Boucher, the man who tackled Paul, seemed to affirm that story.

“The unfortunate occurrence of November 3 has absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas,” attorney Matthew Baker said in a statement. “It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.”

Not so!, insisted Paul allies. Other neighbors were quoted – on the same day in 2 separate conservative publications – disputing the landscaping explanation.

“The stories of a ‘landscaping dispute’ or a dispute of any sort between Rand Paul and Rene Boucher are erroneous and unfounded,” a Paul neighbor named Travis Creed told the Washington Examiner. “The reason for Mr. Boucher’s bizarre attack is known only to him. Statements to the contrary are irresponsible and unnecessary.”

That same Washington Examiner piece leaned heavily into the idea that Boucher’s attack on Paul was politically motivated.

“The Bowling Green, Ky., neighbor who allegedly attacked Sen. Rand Paul last weekend, causing six broken ribs, was aggressively anti-Trump and anti-GOP in his social media, calling for the impeachment of the president and urging Russia investigator Robert Mueller to ‘fry Trump’s gonads,’” read the first paragraph of the piece.

And now, this op-ed by Kelley Paul in which she suggests Boucher has a “troubled mind” and is an “attention-seeking person.”

So, what the heck actually happened – and more importantly why? Why would someone who had been a longtime neighbor of Paul’s suddenly snap and inflict serious damage on him? Why is there so much effort to push totally contradictory explanations of the incident and what motivated it? We are dealing with a US Senator who was viciously attacked at his home.

Boucher pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault earlier this month, making it more likely there will be a trial at which we may finally get this mystery solved.

But, even in Boucher’s not guilty plea, there were differing accounts of the motive.

“It was absolutely and unequivocally not about politics, not about right versus left and not about Democrat versus Republican,” said Boucher’s lawyer.

“As to reports of a longstanding dispute with the attacker, the Pauls have had no conversations with him in many years,” replied Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to Paul.

What gives? What really happened? How do we not know this yet?