Judge Orders Detention Of Chinese Woman Who Broke Into Mar-A-Lago


A federal judge ordered the lock-up of a woman Monday who illegally entered President Donald Trump’s private club in Florida.

“It does appear to the court that Ms. Zhang was up to something nefarious,” Magistrate Judge William Matthewman said Monday, calling the evidence “quite strong,” according to the Miami Herald,

Authorities arrested Chinese national Yujing Zhang, 32, after she entered Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on March 30. She pretended to be a member of the club and told agents she was going to use the pool, according to The Associated Press. The agents asked her to leave after telling them she was there to attend a fake event.

Trump was hitting golf balls at the Trump International course nearby when Zhang breached the premiseaccording to CNBC.

Authorities questioned Zhang after she started arguing with Secret Service. They found four cellphones, a laptop, and computer drives with malicious software, according to The AP. It also became evident that Zhang spoke English, despite earlier speaking only in a foreign tongue.

Federal prosecutors charged Zhang in early April with illegally entering a restricted area and making false statements to federal agents. She pleaded not guilty to those charges Monday.

The judge also said Zhang, now 33, is a flight risk and would likely try to fly back to China before her trial if she were not detained, according to the Herald.

No charges of espionage have been levied but are still possible, according to the Herald. The case became  muddled after FBI and Secret Service analysis of Zhang’s computer drives showed different results, the Herald reported. An investigation is ongoing.

The allegedly malicious software could be a “false-positive,” federal prosecutor Rolando Garcia said at Monday’s hearing.

Zhang has no family members in the U.S. She is being held at the Palm Beach County jail.

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