(Reuters) – A Kentucky jury has awarded U.S. Senator Rand Paul more than $580,000 in damages against a next-door neighbor who broke six of the Republican lawmaker’s ribs in a gardening dispute.
The neighbor, Rene Boucher, 60, pleaded guilty last year to tackling Paul, 56, in November, 2017.
Boucher said he’d “had enough” of the senator’s habit of piling up garden rubbish along the border of their properties in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Boucher, who received a 30-day prison sentence in June and paid a fine of $10,000, will appeal Wednesday’s verdict, said his lawyer Matt Baker.
“We need to send a clear message that violence is not the answer — anytime, anywhere,” Paul wrote on social network Twitter on Wednesday evening. “We can hold different views, whether it’s politics, religion or day-to-day matters.”
Boucher, who, like Paul, is a physician, said the attack was not politically motivated.
He saw Paul blowing leaves onto his yard with a lawn mower and ran onto his property and tackled him, he said in court documents. The politician caught pneumonia from his injuries.
The jury awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus $7,834 for medical expenses.
(Reporting by Andrew Hay; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)