Chinese woman jailed for trespassing at Trump's Mar-a-Lago

A file photo of President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in FloridaImage copyright

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Yujing Zhang was arrested at Mar-a-Lago resort with multiple electronic devices

A Chinese national has been sentenced to eight months in prison for trespassing at US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

It was feared Yujing Zhang, a 33-year-old businesswoman from Shanghai, was a spy when she was arrested on 30 March.

Initial tests showed she was carrying malware – but prosecutors later said this may have been a “false positive”.

Zhang, who maintains her innocence, has already served seven-and-a-half months in pre-trial detention.

District Judge Roy Altman also sentenced her to two years of supervised release.

Mr Trump was staying at Mar-a-Lago that weekend, but was elsewhere at the time of the incident.

What was Yujing Zhang found guilty of?

Zhang was convicted in September of bluffing her way into a restricted zone and lying to a federal officer. Because she was deemed a flight risk, she was remanded in custody until her sentencing.

When Zhang entered Mar-a-Lago on 30 March, she told the resort’s security staff she was there to use the swimming pool.

Moments later, she changed her story and told club staff she was there to attend a United Nations event that it later transpired had been cancelled. A receptionist who knew the event was off then flagged her to Secret Service agents.

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Broward County Sheriff’s Office

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Yujing Zhang

At the time of her arrest, she was carrying multiple electronic devices, prompting fears that she was a spy.

During the two-day trial in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Zhang dismissed her public counsel and instead chose to represent herself – despite the judge’s attempts to persuade her otherwise.

Zhang often appeared uncomfortable speaking in English, and was also accused of pretending not to understand proceedings.

But she insisted she was just trying to meet President Trump.

“I came to the property and just followed the instructions and asked where to go,” she told the court. “I don’t think I am lying. I came to meet the president and family to just make friends.”

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Media captionMar-a-Lago is a private members club as well as the Trump family’s winter getaway.


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