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Chinese Mar-a-Lago intruder found guilty

Yujing Zhang.PNG
Late Tuesday afternoon, a federal jury started deliberating the case against Yujing Zhang, who's charged with trespassing and lying to agents at President Donald Trump's winter White House in Palm Beach. (WPEC)

A jury found a Chinese businesswoman guilty of lying to the Secret Service to sneak into President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club.

Yujing Zhang represented herself at trial and claimed during opening statements she did nothing wrong.

The jury deliberated all morning and into early afternoon Wednesday, finding Zhang guilty as charged.

Zhang appeared to show no emotion as the verdict was announced.

“I feel towards her, for being an immigrant but she did break the law unfortunately,” said Nibaldo Padilla, one of the 12 jurors sitting in judgement of Zhang.

Zhang now faces up to six years in prison on charges of unlawful entry of restricted buildings and making false statements.

Prosecutors claimed she had no right to enter the private club. Secret Service agents detained her in March. Prosecutors said she misrepresented herself when she claimed she was at the club to attend a United Nations Friendship Event.

But evidence presented during the trial showed Zhang had been told more than once the event was cancelled.

“She knew, you know, that there was no event based on the evidence that was presented with her cell phone,” Padilla said, adding that it was clear Zhang knew Mar-a-Lago was a restricted area. “The taxi driver told her, you know. She knew all these things, and she still went. So she’s kind of like pressing her luck, and not in a good way.”

Authorities said they found Zhang in possession of a number of cell phones, USB drives, a thumb drive believed to be full of malware, and a signal detector to check for hidden cameras.

While Zhang was not charged with being a spy, the judge granted a prosecution request to seal certain case materials, because of national security concerns. She did make a very brief closing argument, saying she did nothing wrong and did not lie. But jurors did not buy it.

She will be sentenced Nov. 22. She also faces more than $250,000 in fines.



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