US Senator Rand Paul has announced that he was returning to work in Washington following several days of resting after he suffered from broken ribs in an altercation with a neighbour earlier in the month. “While I’m still in a good deal of pain, I will be returning to work in the Senate today (Monday), ready to fight for liberty and help move forward with tax cuts in the coming days and weeks,” Paul tweeted on Monday, referring to the tax reform bill currently being studied by the upper house. The 54-year-old junior Republican senator from Kentucky said on November 3 that his long-time neighbour, Rene Boucher, also a physician, tackled him from behind when he was mowing the lawn at his house, breaking six ribs and causing a pleural effusion, which is a build-up of fluid in the tissues that line the lungs and chest, which resulted in difficulty breathing, Efe news reported.
Boucher was immediately arrested, although he was released from jail the next day after paying $7,500 bail and on the condition that he not approach within 305 metres of the Senator and his family. Last week, Boucher, 59, admitted before a judge that he had entered Paul’s property and had tackled him from behind although he pleaded “not guilty” to the charge of assault, which could carry a penalty of a year behind bars and a $500 fine. A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for November 30.
The charge is considered a misdemeanor, but it could come in addition to more serious charges if Kentucky police and the FBI, which are investigating the incident, find that the attack had a political motive and decide to present formal charges against Boucher. Paul is one of the most well-known members of the liberal wing of the Republican Party and in 2016 made a short-lived presidential run in the party primaries.