- A Chinese woman recently arrested at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club lied repeatedly to Secret Service agents while carrying computer malware unlike anything a government analyst had ever seen and had more than $8,000 in cash at her hotel room, along with an electronic device that detects hidden cameras, federal authorities told a judge Monday.
During a federal court detention hearing on Monday, U.S. prosecutor Rolando Garcia argued Zhang is a flight risk.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested last Friday that Zhang may be a Chinese spy.
Zhang was discovered to have a thumb drive with malware, as well as a laptop, an external hard drive and four cell phones.
Garcia also accused Zhang of lying "to everyone she encounters" and said that "t$3 here are a lot of questions that remain to be answered", noting that federal prosecutors may ultimately tack additional charges onto the false statement charges she now faces.
Zhang arrived in Newark on a flight from Shanghai on March 28, Garcia said.
Zhang's defense lawyer, Robert Adler, countered that she had paid businessman Charles Lee $20,000 for admittance to Mar-a-Lago for an event. She was given a travel visa which has now been revoked by the State Department.
It has since been reported that Zhang entered the USA on a tourist visa through Newark Liberty International Airport. She wore a blue jail jumpsuit and her wrists were shackled. She initially told a US Secret Service agent she was there to use the pool. After Secret Service agents were summoned, Zhang allegedly contradicted her earlier story by saying she had come early to the event to familiarize herself with the club and take photos.
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There were also several credit cards in her name and she had more than $8,000 in U.S. and Chinese currency, with $7,500 of it in $100 bills. He's also the agent who attempted to conduct an analysis of the "malicious malware"-carrying thumb drive".
Mr Ivanovich, being questioned about the malware allegedly found on Ms Zhang's thumb drive, said the agent examining the drive found "a file" that began to install onto an agent's computer, and the agent looking at it said that had never happened before, and it was "very out of the ordinary" when conducting a criminal analysis.
When agents analyze suspicious devices that might contain malicious software, it is done in a controlled environment and not performed on a computer connected to any government networks, according to Secret Service officials. She's charged with lying to a federal agent and illegal entering. He pointed out that Zhang made no attempt to hide her electronic gear while entering Mar-a-Lago and agreed to be interviewed for nearly nine hours.
Yujing Zhang, 32, was ordered held until her bond hearing resumes April 15 in West Palm Beach federal court. The incident occurred on March 30.
There is no indication Zhang was ever near the president, who was at his nearby golf course at that time.
"Zhang was asked if the true member. was her father, but she did not give a definitive answer", according to the criminal complaint filed by Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich.
After she gained entry, Zhang reportedly told a receptionist she was there to attend a "United Nations Friendship Event", but no such event was scheduled. Her facility with reading English and responses led them to believe she had no trouble with the language.
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