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U.S. Senator Rand Paul

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul had part of his lung removed over the weekend due to complications from an assault by his neighbor nearly two years ago.

While the Senate is on August recess, Paul announced early Monday that he would be pulling back on activities until September because of the operation, which was performed in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Unfortunately, I will have to limit my August activities,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted. “Part of my lung damaged by the 2017 assault had to be removed by surgery this weekend.” 

“The doctors, nurses, & staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were great,” he said. “I should be able to return to the Senate in September.”

Rene Boucher, Paul’s neighbor in Bowling Green, Kentucky, assaulted the GOP lawmaker in November 2017. 

Boucher tackled Paul from behind as the senator was mowing his lawn, breaking six of Paul’s ribs and causing a pleural effusion, or a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs.

Paul’s recovery was complicated by fluid and blood around the lungs and pneumonia, Fox News reported. According to CBS News, Paul had also undergone hernia repair surgery in January because of injuries from the assault.

Boucher pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress. He was sentenced in June 2018 to 30 days in federal prison, ordered to one year of supervised release, and given a $10,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Boucher was also ordered to have no contact with Paul’s family.

Federal prosecutors had argued for a 21-month sentence for Boucher, who could have faced 10 years for assaulting a U.S. senator under title 18 of the United States Code. 

Paul filed an appeal over the length of Boucher’s sentence, which is still before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The senator also filed a civil suit seeking medical costs and attorney fees relating to the attack, and in January a Kentucky jury awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 for pain and suffering, and $7,834 for medical expenses.

Boucher, 60, a retired doctor and registered Democrat, has denied the attack on Paul, 56, was politically motivated, saying it was over a dispute involving lawn debris on their adjoining property line, a dispute Paul has denied.

Last July in the month after Boucher’s sentencing, Capitol Hill Police arrested a man for allegedly threatening to murder the Paul and his family with an ax.

Paul expressed gratitude to the police at the time and criticized violent attacks upon Republican members of Congress in the previous year, citing the assault, and also the June 2017 shooting of several Republican congressional staffers that also critically wounded Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise.

Paul was on the diamond at a congressional baseball practice the morning of June 14 when James Hodgkinson opened fire in what police immediately called a deliberate attack

Hodgkinson, who was killed on the scene in a shootout with police, was heard before the attack asking whether the players on the field were Republicans. He had a hit list of Republican Congressmen on his body.

News of Paul’s latest surgery related to the 2017 assault he suffered followed two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left more than two dozen dead. 

As details of the shootings unfold, the attacks have further fueled fierce political and ideological debate in the U.S over allegations of racism and the issue of gun control.