- A grand jury indicted Yujing Zhang, a Chinese citizen who gained access to Mar-a-Lago last month while carrying a USB drive infected with malware.
- Zhang was charged with two counts: unlawful entry of restricted buildings and grounds and making false statements to law enforcement.
- When Zhang was apprehended, in addition to the infected USB drive, she was also allegedly carrying four mobile phones, a laptop, and a hard drive. When they searched her hotel room, law enforcement officers said they found nine USB drives, five SIM cards, $US8,000 in cash, and a device used to discover hidden cameras.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested Zhang is a Chinese spy, and the FBI began investigating the matter after she was arrested.
A federal grand jury indicted Yujing Zhang, the Chinese citizen who was arrested for allegedly entering a restricted area after gaining access to Mar-a-Lago last weekend while President Donald Trump was golfing nearby.
According to the indictment, Zhang is charged with two counts: unlawful entry of restricted buildings and grounds and making false statements to law enforcement.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested last week that Zhang may be a Chinese spy, and the FBI began investigating the matter after she was arrested.
Law enforcement officers said Zhang was found carrying a USB drive with “malicious malware” on it, four mobile phones, a laptop, and a hard drive when she was apprehended. When they searched her hotel room, officers also said they found five SIM cards, nine USB drives, $US8,000 in cash, and a signal detector used to discover hidden cameras.
Samuel Ivanovich, the US Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich confiscated the thumb drive suspected of containing malware and inserted it into his laptop. Ivanovich testified that when he did so, it started installing files in a “very out-of-the-ordinary” way. He then promptly stopped his analysis of the drive, according to The Miami Herald.
According to court documents, Ivanovich also said Zhang’s story as to why she was there changed during questioning.
Zhang was initially stopped by Secret Service agents at a checkpoint after entering Mar-a-Lago on March 30. She showed them two Chinese passports with her name and photograph, and the agents then took her to Mar-a-Lago security to ask whether she was a member.
Part of Zhang’s name matched that of a member of the club, and she was allowed to enter, the court documents said.
She was then taken to a second checkpoint by shuttle. Though she allegedly initially said she wanted to go swimming, Zhang later told a receptionist she was at the club to attend a United Nations Chinese American Association event that evening. But there was no such event, and the receptionist flagged Zhang to a Secret Service agent, who then detained her for questioning.
Zhang also reportedly had no swimsuit among her possessions, and as agents questioned her it became evident she spoke English much better than they initially presumed.
John Haltiwanger and Eliza Relman contributed reporting.
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