The wife of Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) described in an article published Wednesday the excruciating pain her husband is enduring after he was injured in an attack, and she squarely blamed it on their neighbor, Rene Boucher, without naming him.
"Since the attack, my husband Rand Paul hasn't taken a single breath without pain," Kelley Paul wrote in a piece published on CNN's website. She described how the attack on Nov. 3 left her husband with six broken ribs, three displaced, pleural effusion, and now pneumonia.
Boucher has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault. His attorney, Matthew Baker, told CNN earlier this month that his client regrets the incident, adding, "If he had to do it over again, I can assure you it would have been handled much more diplomatically."
According to Kelley Paul's account, and contrary to many claims in the media, Boucher's alleged actions had no connection to an existing dispute over lawn maintenance, nor did they constitute an "altercation" in which Paul himself participated.
"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," she wrote.
"This was not a 'scuffle,' a 'fight,' or an 'altercation,' as many in the media falsely describe it," she added. "It was a deliberate, blindside attack."
Kelley Paul sharply criticized reports that have implicated her husband in the attack, and said the couple has had no contact with Boucher for 10 years.
"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," she wrote.
The New York Times published an article quoting the neighborhood's developer, who implied that Paul's libertarian-leaning views made him a difficult neighbor, a charge that many neighbors have fiercely denied. The Times article and others like it gave the impression that Paul contributed to a "fight" between him and Boucher.
GQ cited the Times story in a piece entitled, "Rand Paul Sounds Like the Worst Guy to Have as a Neighbor." Author Jack Moore wrote that the Times showed that "Paul is a bit of an asshole about his yard."
In her article, Kelley Paul shared details of the pain her husband is enduring even as he tries to continue performing his senatorial duties in Washington, D.C.
"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," she wrote. "Despite this, he refused to give in to the pain and was determined to fly back to Washington last week to do his job. As we walked through the airport returning from D.C., he was shivering with a 102.5 fever, and the next morning his internist diagnosed pneumonia in his damaged lung."
Kelley Paul described the media's coverage of the story as "gleeful" and "ridiculing," and she said it has made the experience worse for her and her husband.
Many journalists have joked about Paul's injuries and ascribed responsibility for the attack to his libertarian views. On Monday, MSNBC's Kasie Hunt said the attack on Paul is "one of my favorite stories" and joked about his lawn maintenance showing "the libertarian in him."
Boucher is a registered Democrat. A mutual friend of both men told the Washington Post that Boucher is a "socialist." Boucher's lawyer has consistently denied any political motivation for the incident; if there was one, the attack would be considered a federal offense.