A jury awarded Republican Senator Rand Paul more than $580,000 Wednesday over an attack by a neighbor that left him with broken ribs and fluid in his lungs, US media reported.
Rene Boucher, who assaulted the junior senator from Kentucky in 2017, will owe $375,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 for pain and suffering and $7,834 for medical expenses, according to local media reports.
“This lawsuit wasn´t about me. It was about all of us and what we find acceptable as a society. We need to send a clear message that violence is not the answer – anytime, anywhere,” Paul wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
“We can hold different views, whether it´s politics, religion or day to day matters,” but it is “never ok to turn those disagreements into violent, aggressive anger. I hope that´s the message from today,” he tweeted.
Boucher was arrested in 2017 after Kentucky State Police responded to a reported assault at Paul´s Warren County home.
The suspect´s attorney Matt Baker issued a statement to WKU Public Radio saying the dispute was “trivial” and in no way politically motivated.
The New York Times, citing neighbors and Republican lawmakers familiar with the incident, reported that the assault stemmed from a landscaping dispute.
Paul had dismounted from a riding lawn mower when Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist who lives next door, ran up and tackled him, the newspaper said.
The senator was wearing sound-muting earmuffs and did not realize Boucher was approaching, the newspaper said, citing a Kentucky Republican and a friend.
Paul ran an unsuccessful bid to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.