A longtime aide of California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has been arrested and charged with various disturbing domestic abuse charges, including trying to smother a child.
Though Nathan Ballard, 51, was arrested on October 18, the news was only just broken this week by Politico California. Ballard was previously a spokesperson for failed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and a communications director for the Democratic National Committee, according to the Sacramento Bee. This publication described Ballard as a “friend and adviser” to Newsom.
Ballard’s success with powerful Democrats was all before he was charged with two felony charges of willful cruelty to a child with possible injury and death, and domestic violence.
Sources said that this incident occurred at the Carneros Resort and Spa, where Ballard allegedly “had consumed a large amount of alcohol and some marijuana.’’
The adult female victim, whose name has not been released, told police that Ballard “charged her and pushed her with both hands into the glass doors,’’ causing her to fall and hit the back of her head. She said that Ballard, who was also bleeding, then “attempted to suffocate the child victim with the pillow.”
“Ballard grabbed the pillow from the bed, placed it onto the child victim and laid on top of the pillow, placing his weight on the child victim who was under the pillow,’’ the police report states.
The female victim said that eventually “she was able to remove the child victim from the room.”
The adult victim called the police the next morning, and Ballard was arrested. Tony Brass, Ballard’s lawyer, defended him in a statement released to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Nate and Mara went on an overnight vacation to Napa on Oct. 17 with their two young children. That night, after they both had too much to drink, they had an argument,” Brass said. “Nate was the only one who emerged with any injuries. I saw and documented those injuries firsthand.”
“Nate knows that he is not perfect, but he is facing his own challenges head-on,” Brass added. “After nearly eight years of continuous sobriety, Nate resumed drinking in April, after his father died.”
“He is now clean and sober again, and he is currently in a residential recovery program to deal with his drinking problem in a responsible, comprehensive manner,” the lawyer continued. “He is a good father, he has his children’s best interests at heart, and he wants to resolve this matter privately, quickly, and fairly for their sake.”
Even after his arrest, Ballard was publicly weighing in on issues pertaining to Newsom, including who the governor would name to fill the Senate seat vacated by Kamala Harris.
“It can’t be somebody who needs a lot of babysitting and hand-holding,” Ballard told the Associated Press back in November, weeks after his arrest. “If you are the governor, you want to use this to play chess and add some qualified new blood to vacant offices.”
“Diversity is a given,” he later added to KQED. “It’s not going to be someone who looks like Gavin.”
Newsom has yet to comment on Ballard’s arrest.