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CrimeJury to weigh trespassing case against Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago

13:25  11 september  2019
13:25  11 september  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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(Reuters) – A federal court jury was due to begin deliberations on Wednesday in the trespassing trial of a Chinese woman accused of hoodwinking her. By Reuters • last updated: 11/09/2019. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar - a - Lago Club is shown ahead of the arrival of Hurricane

(Reuters) - A federal court jury was due to begin deliberations on Wednesday in the trespassing trial of a Chinese woman accused of hoodwinking her way The central question of what precisely Yujing Zhang, 33, was doing at Trump's private Mar - a - Lago club on March 30 remained unanswered as

(Reuters) - A federal court jury was due to begin deliberations on Wednesday in the trespassing trial of a Chinese woman accused of hoodwinking her way past U.S. Secret Service agents to gain illegal entry to President Donald Trump's Florida resort.

Jury to weigh trespassing case against Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago© Reuters/Joe Skipper FILE PHOTO: Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club is shown ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Palm Beach

The central question of what precisely Yujing Zhang, 33, was doing at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club on March 30 remained unanswered as prosecutors and the defendant, acting as her own lawyer, delivered their opposing summations of the case on Tuesday, capping two days of trial testimony.

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Image caption Yujing Zhang was arrested at Mar - a - Lago resort with multiple electronic devices. A Chinese national has been sentenced to eight months in prison for trespassing at US President Donald Trump's Mar - a - Lago resort in Florida.

(Reuters) - A federal court jury was due to begin deliberations on Wednesday in the trespassing trial of a Chinese woman accused of hoodwinking her way The central question of what precisely Yujing Zhang, 33, was doing at Trump's private Mar - a - Lago club on March 30 remained unanswered as

Zhang actions at the luxurious Palm Beach resort sparked concerns that she might have been a spy, though she was charged only with trespassing and making false statements. Prosecutors offered no explanation in court for her motives.

They focused instead on trying to prove she used deception to gain unlawful access to private property. She could face up to six years in prison if the 12-member jury finds her guilty.

Zhang, who prosecutors said was carrying various electronic devices when arrested, insisted she was entitled to admission to Mar-a-Lago by way of a contract for which she had paid $20,000 to attend a U.S.-China economic development event at the resort.

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A Chinese woman accused of hoodwinking U.S. Secret Service agents to gain illegal entry to President Donald Trump's Florida resort repeated her assertion that she "did nothing wrong" as her federal court trial was handed to a jury on Tuesday. The actions of Yujing Zhang, 33, at Trump'.

Mar - a - Lago member. “The sad fact is that if a Mandarin interpreter had been provided at that first The false statement charge contained in a grand jury indictment returned on Friday also concerns “I don’t understand how this would support a trespassing charge after making no misrepresentations.”

"I did nothing wrong," she told jurors in halting English. "I did not lie."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia countered that Zhang had been notified in advance that the event she had planned to attend was canceled and that she had demanded her money back.

Rolando also detailed how Zhang allegedly bluffed her way through Secret Service and resort security checkpoints and onto the property, in part by passing herself off as the relative of an actual club member of the same name.

"She knew she wasn't supposed to be there," Rolando said.

Earlier on Tuesday, front-desk Mar-a-Lago receptionist Ariela Grumaz testified that Zhang "was acting very weird and strange" during her March 30 visit.

The Chinese national ignored a "no filming" sign and, using her cell phone, captured video of the ornate lobby as she strolled inside, raising suspicions and prompting Grumaz to urge security personnel to watch her.

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Trump visited Mar - a - Lago the weekend Zhang was arrested but was playing golf during her time at the property. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said it had no knowledge of any connection between Zhang and the Beijing government and was leaving it to U.S. authorities to "handle the case in accordance

A Chinese national arrested for bluffing her way onto U.S. President Donald Trump's Florida resort went on trial acting as her own attorney on Monday Zhang - whose arrest at the Mar - a - Lago club in Palm Beach in March while carrying multiple electronic devices sparked a probe as to whether she

Wearing an evening dress in the early afternoon, Zhang began texting on her cellphone, and Grumaz asked her to leave, she said, recounting that Zhang calmly walked outside and was immediately surrounded by Secret Service agents.

At the time of her arrest, Zhang had four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive device and a thumb drive in her possession, the Secret Service said in a court filing. The thumb drive was found to contain "malicious malware," the Secret Service said.

A search of Zhang's Palm Beach hotel room reportedly uncovered a device meant to detect hidden cameras and nearly $8,000 in cash.

The Chinese foreign ministry has said it had no knowledge of any connection between Zhang and the Beijing government and was leaving it to U.S. authorities to "handle the case in accordance with the law, fairly and appropriately."

(Reporting by Erik Bojnansky in Fort Lauderdale; Writing by Barbara Goldberg and Steve Gorman; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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