A longtime ally of California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom has been arrested and jailed on multiple felony domestic violence charges including allegations that he tried to smother a young child with a pillow.
Politico California, which broke the story on Thursday afternoon, reported that Nathan Ballard, 51, “was booked on Oct. 18 on two felony charges of willful cruelty to a child with possible injury and death, and domestic violence, according to documents on file with the Napa County Sheriff’s Office.”
Sources told Politico California that Ballard had reportedly “consumed a large amount of alcohol and some marijuana” while at a resort and that he charged a woman, pushing her into a glass door, which caused her to fall and hit her head.
Ballard, who reportedly fell after allegedly shoving the woman, then “attempted to suffocate the child victim with the pillow,” she told the police, according to Politico California. “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.”
“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,” Ballard’s attorney, Tony Brass, said in a statement Thursday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “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 said. “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.”
The Sacramento Bee added that 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.
The Sacramento Bee reports:
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.
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This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information about the case.