A top aide for California Governor Gavin Newsom was arrested and charged with multiple felony domestic violence charges.
51-year-old Nathan Ballard was arrested on October 18th and received two felony charges of willful cruelty to a child with possible injury and death, and domestic violence. News of the incident did not reach the public until a Politico report revealed the details this week.
Ballard is a close “friend and adviser” to Governor Newsom, and the San Francisco Chronicle referred to him as a “longtime Newsom aide.”
Ballard is accused of being violent on numerous occasions, including one instance where he charged at his wife while he was drunk, pushing her into a glass door and causing her to fall and hit her head. He then allegedly attempted to “suffocate a child victim with a pillow,” according to police.
The child victim was reportedly a four-year-old female, but police would not say if it was his child.
“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,” Police said.
Tony Brass, Ballard’s attorney, says that his client was actually the victim in the altercation.
“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. Nate was the only one who emerged with any injuries. I saw and documented those injuries firsthand,” Brass said.
Brass also said that Ballard is now clean and sober and currently in a treatment program for his addiction.
“Nate knows that he is not perfect, but he is facing his own challenges head-on. 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,” Brass said.
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,” he added.
Ballard currently runs a public relations agency that has advised many high profile clients in the professional sports world, Fortune 100 companies, and public figures in the tech industry.
In addition to once serving on Newsom’s staff, Ballard also served as spokesman for past Democratic presidential candidates Sen. John Kerry and General Wesley Clark and once served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee, the California Labor Federation.
Ballard issued a statement saying that he was wrongfully accused.
“I’ve spent my career in crisis communications fighting on behalf of the wrongfully accused, and now for the first time I really know what it feels like to be in their shoes,” Ballard said in a statement. “I will be exonerated. I love my children more than anything on earth, and we will be reunited.”