Government prosecutors mistakenly dropped an assault charge against a staff and political aide to Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.).

Clifton B. Smith, 39, who had been charged with slugging a D.C. police officer during an argument over a parking ticket, was scheduled to enter a court diversion program for first offenders.

However, because of an apparent administrative error, the charge against Smith was dropped before he entered the program. A charge usually is not dropped until after a defendant has completed a diversion program.

According to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, the dropping of the charge, which occurred in open court Jan. 16 before a D.C. Superior Court judge, occurred because of an "administrative error in the transmitting of information" relating to the case to a prosecutor. The U.S. Attorney's office can charge Smith again if it wishes to do so.

The incident stemmed from an argument between Smith and Police Officer Max P. T. Sachs after Sachs ticketed Smith's car, which police said was illegally parked in the 400 block of North Capitol Street last March 27.

Smith asked Sachs to tear up the ticket, police said. After the officer refused, Smith allegedly hit Sachs, police said.