PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Chinese businesswoman has been deported back to China more than two years after being sentenced to eight months in prison for trespassing at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club and lying to Secret Service agents.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers deported Yujing Zhang on Sunday after a "final order of removal from an immigration judge," ICE spokesman Nestor Iglesias told WPTV.
Zhang was turned over to immigration officials in December 2019 after serving her sentence. But immigration officials had been holding her at the Glades County Detention Center for three times as long as her prison term, mainly because of deportation delays during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 was the first to report on Zhang's charges.
"They found a way to get her for more time," Boynton Beach immigration attorney Richard Hujber said.
Hujber said it appears a handwritten legal brief from Zhang to federal court in Fort Myers may have finally led to her leaving the U.S.
In the brief, Zhang was seeking $100 million in compensation, alleging mental and physical abuse at the jail and saying there was no legal right to still hold her.
"So they basically accepted it, acknowledged it and then sent her this, basically telling her how to proceed, so I think the government must have then realized, 'Hey, this is going to proceed,'" Hujber said. "It's in the right court now."
Ever since her arrest in March 2019, there was suspicion that Zhang may have been trying to spy at Mar-a-Lago, fueled by her possession of several phones, thumb drives and other equipment that was seized by federal agents.
In federal court, Zhang claimed she was just looking to meet the president and make friends.
"Why have they never come out and said what they actually found?" Hujber said of the federal government.
Zhang did get back $8,000 in cash that she had with her when she first came to Florida.