Chinese national Yujing Zhang found guilty of trespassing at Mar-a-Lago

Elias Hubbard
September 12, 2019

Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman who allegedly breached security at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's private Florida club, earlier this year, has been found guilty on counts of unlawfully entering a restricted building and making false statements to a federal officer.

Zhang will be sentenced on November 22.

Zhang, who remained mostly tight-lipped throughout the trial, seemed as though she wasn't listening intently to witness testimony, but shuffled through papers in front of her.

Prosecutors and Zhang's standby public defenders declined to comment after the trial.

"You should wear your civilian clothes so the jurors don't see you in your prison garb", Altman advised the defendant, noting that appearing in her inmate's uniform could potentially prejudice the jury against her. Zhang then said she didn't understand what Altman was trying to convey.

Zhang told security at Mar-a-Lago that she was there to go to the pool, but later told a receptionist she was there for a United Nations event that prosecutors said she knew had been cancelled, according to court documents.

It is not affiliated with the U.N. He was photographed at least twice with Cindy Yang, a Republican donor and former Florida massage parlor owner who organized Mar-a-Lago events.

Zhang made worldwide headlines in March when she was arrested carrying multiple electronic devices at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, including a thumb drive that was later found to contain "malicious malware", according to the Secret Service. Photos with celebrities like the Trumps, the Clintons or Buffett are sometimes used by Chinese business owners for promotion. Period", Garcia said. "She knew there was no event.

Zhang insisted she was entitled to admission to Mar-a-Lago by way of a contract for which she had paid $20,000 United States to attend a U.S. The president and his family were at the club that weekend, although he was playing golf at his nearby course and Zhang was never near him.

Zhang, for her part, claimed she "did nothing wrong" and "did no lying", maintaining her innocence until the end. That led to confusion over whether she was the daughter of a member. Hours before Zhang was found guilty, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said suggestions of connections between Zhang and the Chinese government were "laughable".

"She knew she wasn't supposed to be there", Garcia said. "Zhang stated she had documentation purportedly showing her invitation to the event, but agents were unable to read it as it was in Chinese", the affidavit said. Grumaz said she stopped Zhang as she tried to walk past her into another room. That's when the Secret Service got involved.

According to officials, Zhang was carrying two passports, four cellphones, one laptop, an external hard drive and a thumb drive when she was detained for questioning.

She initially told agents she did not want to leave the items at her hotel out of fear they would be stolen, but police later found around $8,000 (£6,500) in cash and more electronics in her hotel room. She faced no espionage charges, however. She carried no swimsuit. Zhang chose to represent herself during the trial with assistance from the Federal Public Defender's office and court-appointed translators. She sometimes spoke well in English, but other times relied on her Mandarin interpreters.

Prosecutors say the 33-year-old Shanghai consultant lied to agents to gain admission to Mar-a-Lago on March 30. For example, he ordered prosecutors to reword questions and he stopped an Federal Bureau of Investigation translator from noting a stamp on the contract Zhang signed with Charles contained the initials of the Chinese Communist Party, a potentially prejudicial but irrelevant revelation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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