Yujing Zhang, a Chinese national, is accused of trying to gain entry to Donald Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, with two passports and malware. Documents in the case say that Zhang was in possession of two Chinese passports, a thumb drive containing malware in addition to a laptop and a hard drive when she was detained by the Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago in Jupiter, Florida, on March 30.
A criminal complaint against Zhang was filed in the U.S. District Court. Zhang told the first Secret Service agent who approached her that she was merely going to the pool. When Zhang’s name did not appear on any guest list, a manager said that Zhang was the last name of a Mar-a-Lago member. Zhang was asked if she was related to that man, according to Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich. Authorities say Zhang pretended to not speak English, they assumed she was related to the member named Zhang and therefore she was permitted into the club.
President Trump Was Not in Mar-a-Lago at the Same Time as Zhang
President Donald Trump was pictured by the Palm Beach Post at Mar-a-Lago on March 30 although he is not thought to have been on the premises at the same time as Zhang.
When Zhang was spotted wandering around the premises, a valet in a golf cart picked up the suspect but Zhang couldn’t say where she wanted to go. Eventually, Zhang was brought back to the reception, passing through another Secret Service checkpoint, where she told a receptionist that she was there for a United Nations Chinese American Association meeting being held at the club that evening. No such event existed. Zhang also said that she was there early to familiarize herself with Mar-a-Lago and to take photos prior to the event. Documents say that Zhang had an invitation that was written in Chinese.
Authorities Say Zhang Said She Was Told to Go to Mar-A-Lago By a Man Named Charles
At this stage, Zhang was escorted off of the property by Secret Service agents. Zhang told those agents, according to documents, that man named “Charles” told her to travel from Shanghai to Mar-a-Lago to speak to someone in the Trump family about American-Chinese relations, particularly the economic relations between the two countries. When speaking with the agents, it was discovered that Zhang could speak and read English. While being taken into custody, authorities say that Zhang was argumentative and said she never told anyone that she was going to the pool. Zhang was not in possession of a swimsuit when agents took her into custody.
Documents in the case indicate that agents have not established who “Charles is.” Zhang told agents that she connected with “Charles” through the messaging app WeChat.
It’s Reported That Zhang Was There to Attend an Event Held by Cindy Yang
The Miami Herald reported that Zhang was trying to gain access to an event being held at Mar-Lago by Cindy Yang. Yang became national news in March 2019 when it was discovered that she was a prominent Republic donor who was a regular presence at Mar-a-Lago. Yang founded a string of massage parlors in Florida. The AP notes that Yang was accused of promising Chinese business personalities that she could gain them access to President Trump.
The Secret Service charged Zhang with making false statements to federal law enforcement agents and unlawfully entering a restricted area. If found guilty on all charges, Zhang could face up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines. Following an initial appearance in court on April 1, Zhang will face a detention hearing on April 8. Zhang is being represented by public defender Robert Handler.
You can read the full documents in the case here: