PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – Chained from her wrists to her feet and listening through a Mandarin Chinese interpreter, Yujing Zhang sat stoically through a lengthy detention hearing Monday afternoon in West Palm Beach.
Federal agents arrested Zhang more than a week ago and charged her with making false statements and entering a restricted property after she entered President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
The president was golfing nearby at the time.
Prosecutors told a judge Zhang was a flight risk and should not be released on bond.
“She lies to everyone she encounters,” said federal prosecutor Rolando Garcia.
On March 30th the secret service says Zhang showed up at Mar-a-Lago and first said she was going to the pool with no bathing suit.
Later she said she was there to attend a Chinese-American Event.
Agents say she had four cell phones, a laptop, external hard drive and thumb drive containing malware.
A secret service agent told the judge during their investigation, the malware began to install onto an agent’s computer on its own, something that’s never happened before.
Federal prosecutors revealed that when investigators searched Zhang’s hotel room at the upscale Colony Hotel on Palm Beach, they found over $8000 in US and Chinese cash, another cell phone, a signal detector to check for hidden cameras, credit cards, nine thumb drives and five SIM cards.
Zhang’s defense lawyer told the judge she’s no spy and indicated the whole incident is a misunderstanding.
He said there was a language barrier and Zhang had a valid Passport and Visa.
Her visa has since been revoked.
The detention hearing will continue on April 15th at which tine Zhang will be arraigned on the charges.
Her attorney says he will prove Zhang isn’t a flight risk and is eligible for bond.
He says he can provide evidence that she paid to attend an event that night at Mar-a-Lago.
“She wired $20,000 to attend an event for the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association to meet members of the President’s family and other politicians,” said defense attorney Robert Adler.
Author Louis Learner of a book titled “Mar-A-Lago” says too many people on the property are able to get close to the president.
“The maître d’ wondering around there, you wouldn’t think he’s the president of the United States. The family corridors are just off one of the hallways. It’s just insane,” Learner said.
The author says agents cannot tackle all the safety issues, the president has to call for changes.
“It’s one of the weakest entry points into this administration for spies and for people who want to do physical harm to the president,” he said.
Nobody at The Colony Hotel returned calls to CBS 4 News.
If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison and a $350,000 fine.