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Neighbors of Sen. Rand Paul and his alleged attacker, Rene Boucher, speak out

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- The man charged with attacking Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul pleaded not guilty to the assault. Rene Boucher, Paul's neighbor, is accused of attacking the lawmaker while Paul was mowing his lawn one week ago. Initially police said Paul's injuries were minor, but Paul later tweeted that he has six broken ribs and excess fluid around his lungs, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds. 

Neighbor Alicia Stivers saw Paul right after the incident.

"He was having trouble breathing and talking. He had lacerations on his face," Stivers told Kentucky's NPR station WKU.

The two men, both doctors, are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but neighbors insist this altercation was trivial and had nothing to do with politics.

Jim Skaggs, another longtime neighbor, told Reynolds, "Both men have really nice lives, really nice houses."

"It does appear to be a one-sided attack, that to my knowledge Boucher has not denied. In fact, he just broke," Skaggs said.

Boucher appeared in court Thursday and entered a plea of not guilty to a misdemeanor charge that could land him in jail for a year.

"He's deeply regretful. This -- I don't think this would happen again in a million years," said Matt Baker, Boucher's attorney.

He said his client and Paul were having a conversation when Paul was working in his yard. But Paul's chief strategist called the attack a "blindside" and dismissed reports of a longstanding dispute, saying the two neighbors haven't spoken in many years.

"I think blindsided is a very unfair characterization," Baker told Reynolds.

Paul has retained a personal injury lawyer and maintains that he was violently attacked. 

A source close to Paul told CBS News that while the senator is in immense pain, he is looking forward to getting back to work as soon as his health allows. 

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