Trump club security breach accused had multiple devices


Yujing Zhang's arrest last week reportedly reinvigorated an FBI counterintelligence investigation into alleged Chinese spying at Mar-a-Lago amid initial allegations that Zhang had entered the winter White House with a malware-infected thumb drive.

What she had planned remains unclear.

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.

The federal magistrate judge who held the hearing on Monday will decide next week if Yujing should stay in jail until she is tried, or be released to live in the USA as she awaits trial.

Federal prosecutors argued during Monday's hearing that Zhang was a flight risk because she had no ties to the USA and couldn't be trusted to tell the truth.

"She lies to everyone she encounters", the newspaper quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia as saying during the hearing.

"The Receptionist knew this event did not exist", it says, but when the Secret Service agent, Ivanovich, followed up with additional questions, Zhang allegedly said she had arrived early for the event so she could "familiarise herself with the property and take pictures".

While Trump and his White House associates have tried to downplay the security breach, CNN reports the FBI is investigating Zhang as part of a Chinese espionage operation. "The only thing Ms Zhang did was give a common name and she was allowed onto the property", Mr Adler said.

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In the court documents, Secret Service agents said there was no such event scheduled that night, despite Zhang's claim she entered Mar-a-Lago in order to take pictures and become familiar with the location prior to the event's opening later that day.

The agency also didn't have a protocol to flag the amount or types of electronics Zhang carried with her - even though one had malware that even an agent performing an analysis on the device found to be unusual. Only there did a receptionist discover Zhang was not on the club's access list and called the Secret Service back.

In testimony before the court, a Secret Service agent said that Yujing Zhang was in possession of a thumb drive, or USB drive, containing a highly active form of malware which immediately began to install itself when plugged into the agent's computer. There was some confusion over whether she was a relative of a club member, and Mar-a-Lago staff cleared her through the checkpoint, the complaint says.

While questioning Ivanovich, public defender Robert Adler presented Zhang as not fluent in English and suggested she may not have been lying, but misunderstanding agents' questions. Zhang had claimed to authorities that she was at Mar-a-Lago to attend an event that day hosted by a group with a almost identical name.

There is no indication Zhang was ever near the president, who was at his nearby golf course at that time.

She went through a second Secret Service checkpoint, this one where she was screened by a magnetometer for weapons or explosives, before making her way to the club's reception area.

A Florida judge Monday postponed a bail hearing for the self-described Chinese businesswoman accused of infiltrating President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. Lee ran the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association and was photographed at least twice with Cindy Yang, a Republican donor and former Florida massage parlor owner.

It's possible that Zhang came to Mar-a-Lago for the gala and hadn't heard it was canceled, said Bomar.