Chinese woman trespassing at Mar-a-Lago sentenced to prison, then deportation

[sharenow]

The Chinese woman who was arrested and convicted for trespassing at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort has been sentenced.

Yujing Zhang was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison by U.S. District Judge Roy Altman who also ordered that she be turned over to immigration authorities to be deported following her release. That could come as early as next week as the 33-year-old businesswoman has served out nearly that amount of time in prison since her arrest in March, the Miami Herald reported.

(Video: YouTube/WPTV)

The judge noted that Zhang’s trespass on government property – especially where the president is staying – is a “serious offense” and added that “the evidence was overwhelming” that she had lied to Secret Service agents when they confronted her about trying to get into Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort which he has been visiting as president.

“She lied time and time again,” Altman said.

Zhang reportedly told Altman that she had gone to the resort “to meet the president and family and just make friends,” prompting the shocked judge to ask if she actually thought it was possible. The Chinese businesswoman apparently laughed at Altman’s question and contended that she even hoped to meet other people as well. Altman called her out for another lie in her claim that Trump had told reporters he had invited her to Mar-a-Lago.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia argued for an 18-month sentence, noting that Zhang “lied to everybody” in her attempt to gain access to the Trump property. Her actions “suggest it was not just to take a photo with a famous person,” he contended, pointing to her false statements to the Secret Service, her cab driver, as well as the receptionist at Mar-a-Lago. Electronics found in her possession and back in her hotel room backed Garcia’s argument.

“That certainly does not suggest she is some misguided tourist. She had an agenda,” he said.

The Shanghai consultant was convicted in September for trespassing at the private Florida club in March and lying to Secret Service agents who confronted her. She had lied to the receptionist about being at the property to use the pool, then saying she was there for a United Nations Chinese Friendship Association event – which had already been canceled. The president was in town at the time but not at the property.

Once arrested, Zhang was found to be in possession of four cellphones, a computer, and an external hard drive. In her Palm Beach hotel room, authorities also found nine flash drives, five cellphone SIM cards, a signal detector and around $8,000 in cash.

(Video: Fox News)

Some details in Zhang’s trial remained unclear as prosecutors filed secret evidence under seal because of alleged national security implications and Altman wrote that serious damage could occur to the country if the evidence were released.

Zhang also fired her attorneys during the trial and represented herself, despite questions about her grasp of English, Altman apparently did not look favorably on the change and had accused the Chinese national of playing “games.”

“I know full well that you understand what I am saying to you both in English and in Mandarin,” Altman said during a hearing in August. “You are trying to play games.”

Zhang has maintained that she did nothing wrong and reiterated her innocence in a closing statement.

“I followed the instruction. I went into the Mar-a-Lago to have a visit,” she reportedly told jurors. “So that’s what I want to say, and thank you for your attention.”

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Frieda Powers

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