Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago 'up to something,' denied bail: judge

By Zachary Fagenson WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A Chinese woman charged with bluffing her way into U.S. President Donald Trump's Florida resort last month was denied bail on Monday by a federal judge who said he believed she was 'up to something nefarious.' Yujing Zhang, who was carrying multiple electronic devices when arrested, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment and detention hearing on Monday in West Palm Beach, Florida

Reuters April 16, 2019 03:05:52 IST
Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago 'up to something,' denied bail: judge

Chinese woman arrested at MaraLago up to something denied bail judge

By Zachary Fagenson

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A Chinese woman charged with bluffing her way into U.S. President Donald Trump's Florida resort last month was denied bail on Monday by a federal judge who said he believed she was "up to something nefarious."

Yujing Zhang, who was carrying multiple electronic devices when arrested, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment and detention hearing on Monday in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Zhang, 33, was indicted on Friday on charges of making false statements to a federal officer and entering or remaining in a restricted area at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, an incident that raised concerns about security at the Palm Beach club.

During the hearing, a federal prosecutor said Zhang could face more charges and U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman ordered her continued detention.

Matthewman said he was concerned Zhang told U.S. Secret Service agents she was at Mar-a-Lago to attend a charity event that prosecutors allege she knew was cancelled.

He also was troubled she was carrying four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive and a thumb drive when arrested.

“It does appear to the court that Ms. Zhang was up to something nefarious when she unlawfully attempted to gain access to Mar-a-Lago," Matthewman said.

Zhang has not been indicted on espionage charges. The FBI is examining whether she has links to Chinese intelligence agencies or political influence operations, U.S. government sources said.

Prosecutors previously said Zhang's thumb drive contained malware. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia told the court a second analysis found no such software and the first could have been a "false positive."

Zhang, a Shanghai-based financial investor and consultant, was arrested on March 30 after giving conflicting reasons for being at the club during one of Trump's weekend visits. Trump was not on the premises at the time.

Zhang's lawyers said she paid $20,000 to attend a charity gala at Mar-a-Lago advertised on Chinese social media. Garcia said an analysis of Zhang's social media communications found she was told on March 26 the event was cancelled.

Zhang's public defender, Kristy Militello, blamed the incident on a series of "genuine misunderstandings."

"The sad fact of this case is that if a Mandarin interpreter was provided at that first checkpoint, we very well might not be here today," Militello said of Zhang's initial entry into the resort.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Jonathan Allen in New York; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Oil rises 2% as OPEC complies with production cuts
Business

Oil rises 2% as OPEC complies with production cuts

By Jessica Resnick-Ault NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices strengthened on Wednesday, as OPEC and its allies were seen complying with a pact to cut oil supply in September, even as concerns loomed that recovery in fuel demand will be stalled by soaring global coronavirus cases. Early in the day crude was boosted by a bullish stock market. Even as equities whipsawed on pandemic worries, oil stayed higher, buoyed by expectations that OPEC could staunch a supply glut

Tesla's back-to-back price cuts bring sticker on U.S. Model S below $70,000
Business

Tesla's back-to-back price cuts bring sticker on U.S. Model S below $70,000

By Tina Bellon and C Nivedita (Reuters) - Tesla Inc will further cut the price of its Model S "Long Range" sedan in the United States to $69,420, the electric carmaker's chief executive, Elon Musk, announced in a tweet https://bit.ly/2H0JCP0 on Wednesday. The anticipated drop marks the second time this week Tesla has cut the price for the high-end sedan, following a 4% cut of the Model S's price in the United States on Tuesday to $71,990.

Trump cites teenaged son's bout with coronavirus in calling for schools to reopen
World

Trump cites teenaged son's bout with coronavirus in calling for schools to reopen

By Jeff Mason DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Under siege over his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday cited what he said was his son's mild bout of the virus as a reason why American schools should reopen as soon as possible. Trump made the comment about his son, Barron, as the president swept into Iowa on a mission to shore up support in battleground states that he won in 2016 but is in danger of losing to Democrat Joe Biden barely three weeks before the election. First lady Melania Trump announced in a statement earlier in the day that the virus that struck both her and her husband had also infected their 14-year-old son