Nathan Ballard, former Newsom aide, sentenced in domestic abuse case

Nathan Ballard, longtime friend and adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom was arrested for allegedly pushing his wife and attempting to suffocate a four-year-old child.

A political strategist and former aide to Gov. Gavin Newsom was sentenced this week to a six-year, no contact order for domestic violence against his wife and daughter at a Napa Valley resort last year. 

Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley announced the sentence against Nathan Ballard, 52, on Thursday.

Ballard was sentenced for the misdemeanors from when he pushed his wife into a glass door, injuring her and smothered his then-four-year-old daughter with a pillow while calling her derogatory names at the Carneros Inn in 2020. He was convicted of corporal injury to an intimate partner and child abuse, both misdemeanors. 

During his sentencing, Ballard's wife, Mara Reinhardt gave a victim-impact statement, where she said it was her first time in the presence of her husband since the incident 10 months ago. 

"This is the first time I have spoken in public about that evening. This is the first time that I have allowed daylight into the dark corners of our relationship," Reinhardt said. 

She said publicly telling her story was one of the most frightening things she's ever had to do. Ultimately, she said she did it for her children's safety.

She portrayed Ballard as a well-connected, self-serving and powerful political strategist. 

"Long after we leave here today, I know that Nate will spend his life trying to spin yet another story, to destroy me, the children, and most likely anyone associated with this case,"  Reinhardt said, "It is terrifying because I am certain that Nate’s privileged arrogance makes him confident that he is getting away with this."

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In July, Ballard, a former spokesperson for Gov. Newsom when he was mayor of San Francisco, made a plea agreement that reduced all charges to misdemeanors. 

"The allegations made against me by Mara are mostly false, and the remainder are grossly exaggerated. I never harmed my daughter, and I never would have agreed to any settlement that required me to say that I did," Ballard said in a statement provided to KTVU. "With this case behind me, I intend to live life to the fullest. I aim to be reunified with my children and revive my career. 

Ballard said the settlement was in the best interest of his four children and that his children have always been his top priority. As part of the agreement, he must refrain from drinking and tale parenting and domestic violence prevention classes. 

According to the Napa County Sheriff's Office report, Ballard's wife alleged that he was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana at the time of the incident. When the complaint was first filed by the Napa County D.A.'s office in December, Ballard's lawyer said in a  statement that Ballard had been sober for nearly eight years, but started drinking again after the death of his father.

The deputy district attorney said it isn't uncommon for prominent domestic abusers to use their influential positions to further "intimidate" and "control" their victims. 

Bay City News contributed to this report. 

Update: This article was updated with a new statement from Ballard.