Rand Paul Testifies on Opening Day in Civil Trial Against Neighbor
U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says he feared for his life when he was blind-sided by his neighbor and tackled to the ground over a property dispute in 2017. The Republican lawmaker took the witness stand on Monday in his civil trial against retired anesthesiologist Rene Boucher.
Senator Paul said after he was tackled from behind and rolling downhill not knowing who was attacking him, his mind immediately went back to earlier in the year when he escaped gunfire at a congressional baseball practice near Washington D.C.
“The thought crossed my mind, ‘I may never get up from this lawn,’” Paul stated in the courtroom.
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He recalled not being able to breathe and blood coming from his face, but finally getting on top of his attacker and realizing it was Boucher. He said the attack came out of the blue and that Boucher never reached out to him to express his frustrations over how Paul maintained his yard.
"We never got an email to complain. We never got a phone call to complain, and we never got a sorry," Paul told jurors. "Anybody that thinks he's sorry about this, he's sorry about getting caught."
Boucher was having trouble selling his home next door to the Republican lawmaker and blamed Paul. Boucher claims the attack was prompted after years of Paul placing leaves and limbs on the property line and allowing his trees to become overgrown.
Special Judge Tyler Gill granted a defense motion to have the jury travel to the site of the attack. Jurors on Tuesday will be bussed to the upscale Rivergreen subdivision in Warren County to view Paul and Boucher’s properties.
Paul recalled having "the pain of a thousand knives" from six broken ribs he received from the assault. The Republican lawmaker said he still takes over the counter pain medicine daily and has some limited mobility. Under cross-examination by the defense, Paul acknowledged that his daily activities are the same now as they were before the assault, although with mild pain. Boucher's lawyer, Matt Baker, told jurors that Paul has resumed his customary lifestyle, including golfing and snow skiing.
Paul is seeking up to $500,000 in compensatory damages to pay for medical costs, as well as pain and suffering. He's asking for a maximum of $1 million in punitive damages to punish Boucher for his misconduct and deter future acts of violence.
While on the witness stand, Paul expressed discontent with the 30-day prison sentence that Boucher served after pleading guilty last year in federal court to a felony charge of assaulting a member of Congress.
“He got the sentence of a shoplifter," remarked Paul.
Federal prosecutors are appealing the sentence and argue that the appropriate punishment would be 21 months as recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.
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