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Chinese woman accused of sneaking into Mar-a-Lago competent to represent herself at trial: Attorney

Yujing Zhang refuses to meet with psychologist
Posted: 9:27 AM, Jun 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-05 11:15:12-04
Yujing Zhang

The Chinese woman accused of trespassing at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach is one step closer to representing herself at trial, after refusing to meet with a psychologist, according to a court filing.

Yujing Zhang, 33, told a federal judge last month that she wanted to fire her defense attorneys and represent herself at trial. Judge Roy Altman strongly encouraged her to reconsider and ordered that her mental health be evaluated by a psychologist ahead of her next court hearing.

In a court filing, defense attorney Kristy Militello wrote that Zhang "politely declined" to meet with a psychologist on May 23.

After continuing to "investigate Ms. Zhang's mental health status" and talking with her family, Militello wrote in the notice that court that it "is the opinion of undersigned counsel that Ms. Zhang does not suffer from a mental disease or defect which would render her incompetent to proceed or ineligible to represent herself."

"To the contrary, Ms. Zhang has firmly and repeatedly articulated her desire to represent herself and defend against these charges," according to the filing.

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Zhang faces charges for trespassing and lying to federal agents at Mar-a-Lago on March 30.

Investigators say she was taken into custody after they found her with four cellphones, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive thought to have had malware installed on it. Authorities later said there was no malware on the thumb drive.

Now, it's up to the judge overseeing her case as to whether Zhang can fire her defense attorneys and represent herself at trial.

Her next hearing is June 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.