(Reuters) – A federal court docket jury was as a result of start deliberations on Wednesday within the trespassing trial of a Chinese language girl accused of hoodwinking her well beyond U.S. Secret Service brokers to achieve unlawful entry to President Donald Trump’s Florida resort.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Membership is proven forward of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Palm Seaside, Florida, U.S., August 31, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Picture
The central query of what exactly Yujing Zhang, 33, was doing at Trump’s personal Mar-a-Lago membership on March 30 remained unanswered as prosecutors and the defendant, appearing as her personal lawyer, delivered their opposing summations of the case on Tuesday, capping two days of trial testimony.
Zhang actions on the luxurious Palm Seaside resort sparked issues that she might need been a spy, although she was charged solely with trespassing and making false statements. Prosecutors supplied no clarification in court docket for her motives.
They targeted as a substitute on making an attempt to show she used deception to achieve illegal entry to non-public property. She might resist six years in jail if the 12-member jury finds her responsible.
Zhang, who prosecutors mentioned was carrying varied digital gadgets when arrested, insisted she was entitled to admission to Mar-a-Lago by means of a contract for which she had paid $20,000 to attend a U.S.-China financial growth occasion on the resort.
“I did nothing unsuitable,” she informed jurors in halting English. “I didn’t lie.”
Assistant U.S. Lawyer Rolando Garcia countered that Zhang had been notified prematurely that the occasion she had deliberate to attend was canceled and that she had demanded her a refund.
Rolando additionally detailed how Zhang allegedly bluffed her approach via Secret Service and resort safety checkpoints and onto the property, partially by passing herself off because the relative of an precise membership member of the identical title.
“She knew she wasn’t presupposed to be there,” Rolando mentioned.
Earlier on Tuesday, front-desk Mar-a-Lago receptionist Ariela Grumaz testified that Zhang “was appearing very bizarre and unusual” throughout her March 30 go to.
The Chinese language nationwide ignored a “no filming” signal and, utilizing her cellphone, captured video of the ornate foyer as she strolled inside, elevating suspicions and prompting Grumaz to induce safety personnel to look at her.
Sporting a night costume within the early afternoon, Zhang started texting on her cellphone, and Grumaz requested her to go away, she mentioned, recounting that Zhang calmly walked outdoors and was instantly surrounded by Secret Service brokers.
On the time of her arrest, Zhang had 4 cellphones, a laptop computer laptop, an exterior laborious drive system and a thumb drive in her possession, the Secret Service mentioned in a court docket submitting. The thumb drive was discovered to comprise “malicious malware,” the Secret Service mentioned.
A search of Zhang’s Palm Seaside lodge room reportedly uncovered a tool meant to detect hidden cameras and practically $eight,000 in money.
The Chinese language overseas ministry has mentioned it had no information of any connection between Zhang and the Beijing authorities and was leaving it to U.S. authorities to “deal with the case in accordance with the legislation, pretty and appropriately.”
Reporting by Erik Bojnansky in Fort Lauderdale; Writing by Barbara Goldberg and Steve Gorman; Modifying by Robert Birsel