‘Breaking’ story reports longtime Dem strategist, Gov Newsom aide arrested on felony charges — in October

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A longtime Democratic strategist, friend and adviser to California Gov. Gavin Newsom was arrested in October on felony charges of domestic abuse that allegedly included an attempt to suffocate a four-year-old with a pillow.

Nathan Ballard, 51, was booked October 18 on a pair of felony charges of willful cruelty to a child with possible injury and death, as well as domestic violence in Napa, according to Politico, which cited documents filed by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. He was released shortly thereafter on a $75,000 bond.

It’s not clear why news of his arrest is just now “breaking.”


On Thursday, Anthony Brass, Ballard’s attorney, predicted his client would be cleared.

“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,” he said, according to KRON-4.

Due to privacy concerns, none of the three alleged victims — one adult woman and two children — have been identified. That said, Ballard told Politico via text, “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 founded The Press Shop, a public relations firm based in San Francisco. Until Oct. 19, the day after his arrest, he was on the board of The Representation Project, founded by Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, to push women’s rights.

Politico noted further:

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.

According to the sheriff’s office, the female victim alleged that Ballard was under the influence of pot and alcohol when he pushed her into a glass door. As he did, he fell, receiving cuts to his nose and forehead.

Afterward, Ballard allegedly took a pillow and put it over the face of a four-year-old girl “and attempted to suffocate the child with the pillow,” according to Henry Wofford, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office.

“The adult victim was able to remove the child victim from the room and locked herself and another child (a 3-year-old boy) in a separate room,” he added.

KRON-4 reported that court records indicate a restraining order was granted to Ballard’s wife on Nov. 11.

“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,” Brass noted further in a statement.

“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 added.


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