Longtime Aide to California Governor Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges

Longtime Aide to California Governor Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a a news conference about the state's efforts on the homelessness crisis in Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

A Democratic strategist who spent years advising California Gov. Gavin Newsom was arrested on domestic violence charges in October, according to documents that came to light on Thursday.

According to records obtained by KRON4 and other outlets, Nathan Ballard was booked on Oct. 18 on two charges of willful cruelty to a child with possible injury and death and domestic violence. Both are felonies.

A report from the Napa County Sheriff's Office outlines how a woman, who was not publicly identified, told officers Ballard was drunk and high when he shoved her.

The woman said Ballard then took a pillow and tried to suffocate a 4-year-old girl with it.

The woman was able to take the girl away from Ballard and called the authorities.

A restraining order was granted to Ballard's wife last month.

He's scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 29.

Since the arrest, Ballard, a longtime aide to Newsom, was quoted in several news outlets giving analysis on political situations.

For instance, the Associated Press interviewed Ballard in November on the possibility of Newsom appointing a senator to replace Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) if she enters the White House with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Ballard posted $75,000 bail after being arrested and has been free since, according to KGO-TV.

In a statement to news outlets, Ballard said: "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."

Ballard's attorney said he's confident his client will be fully acquitted of the charges.

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