Gov. Newsom aide Nate Ballard charged with domestic violence in Napa Co.

NAPA, Calif. -- On Thursday, Napa County authorities filed two domestic violence charges against veteran political strategist Nathan Ballard, including that he tried to suffocate a child with a pillow at a local resort in October.

Officials with the Napa County Sheriff's Department say the incident in question occurred on Oct. 17, and involved an unidentified adult victim and two minors.

According to the adult victim's police statement, Ballard reportedly "had consumed a large amount of alcohol and some marijuana" at the resort before he charged at her and pushed her with both hands into a set of glass doors.

This action caused her to fall and hit the back of her head on the door, before Ballard also stumbled and fell onto the ground, bleeding.

Ballard then allegedly grabbed a pillow from his bed, placed it onto the child victim, and laid on top of the pillow, placing his weight on and "attempting to suffocate" the child who was underneath it.

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The adult victim said "she was able to remove the child victim from the room,'' and locked herself and both children in a separate location.


She reported the alleged attack to police on Oct. 18, and Ballard was arrested and transported to the county jail on Oct. 20.

Ballard paid his set bail of $75,000 and was released later that day, according to documents from the Napa County Sheriff's Department.
Ballard, a 51-year-old longtime advisor to Governor Newsom, issued a statement in response on Thursday saying, "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. I will be exonerated. I love my children more than anything on earth, and we will be reunited."

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Nathan Ballard's attorney Tony Brass also issued a statement Thursday afternoon, stating, "I am confident that my client, Nathan Ballard, will be fully acquitted of these charges after the District Attorney's Office has a chance to review the facts and learn all sides of the story. Nate is a well-respected professional and a member of the bar with a spotless ethical record. He has no criminal history."


"Nate knows that he is not perfect, but he is facing his own challenges head-on," Brass continued, "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. 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."

Ballard, the former San Francisco deputy city attorney, has been called a "media whisperer" for his high profile roles as the mouthpiece and crisis communications point person for a parade of public figures and A-list corporate clients.

He served as spokesperson for then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a role he has also played for the Democratic National Committee and the California Democratic Party, the Getty family, the Golden State Warriors, the Super Bowl and for the presidential campaigns of former Sen. John Kerry and Gen. Wesley Clark.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.
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