A Chinese woman is being charged with attempting to gain illegal access to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club according to the Secret Service which claims she misled them in order to deploy a computer virus. According to federal prosecutors, the woman was found in possession of the computer virus after illegally gaining entry to the club and scheduled her visit to coincide with a presidential visit.
The woman, Yujing Zhang, remains in federal custody and was denied bail. She has been charged with unlawfully accessing a restricted area and one count of lying to federal agents. The woman, who required a Mandarin translator to enter a plea, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Is She a Spy?
That’s the big question right now: Is she a spy, an idiot, or something else (something we don’t quite fully understand). According to secret service agents, the woman told them that she was attending a gala that she knew had been canceled. Additionally, she allegedly told secret service agents at a security checkpoint that she was going to go swimming, but the woman was not found in possession of any bathing suit.
She managed to make it to the front desk of the Mar-a-Lago when staff members realized she was not on the guest list and the event she claimed to be attending had been canceled. Staff members had allowed the woman onto the grounds because they believed she may have been related to another member by the name of Zhang. Zhang, however, is a very common Chinese name akin to Jones or Smith.
Further, federal agents claim that after they searched her hotel room, they found nine USB drives, five SIM cards, $7500 in cash, and a device for locating audio bugs (surveillance devices). When she made her way into Mar-a-Lago, she was carrying four cell phones, one laptop, one USB drive, and one external hard drive.
Self-Installing Virus “Could Have Been a False Positive”
When prosecutors use the media, they generally make the allegations sound as nefarious as possible and then drop the charges. This is especially true in high-profile cases like Ross Ulbricht who was accused (but never charged) of hiring a hitman and Robert Kraft where allegations of human trafficking made headlines (but were never charged). In other words, there is literally no way this woman was carrying a “self-installing virus”.
Nonetheless, at least one secret service agent testified that the virus immediately began installing itself when he placed the thumb drive into a quarantined computer. No one was able to replicate this, however. The same agent has come under scrutiny after failing to record the hour-long conversation he had with the potential spy.
Meanwhile, the woman claims that she is an investment consultant, but no firm professional ties to the U.S. could be established.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a crime in the West Palm Beach area, the Skier Law Firm P.A. can give you the best defense available under the law. Contact our West Palm Beach criminal attorneys today to set up an appointment.