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Report: Yujing Zhang, suspected Mar-a-Lago intruder, wants to represent herself at trial

Yujing Zhang
Posted at 3:11 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 18:05:34-04

A Chinese woman accused of illegally gaining entry to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on Palm Beach wants to represent herself at trial, according to a report.

The Palm Beach Post is reporting 33-year-old Yujing Zhang told U.S. District Judge Roy Altman on Tuesday, "I don’t need the attorneys, thank you. I want to represent myself."

The article goes onto say Judge Altman told Zhang, "You really, really need a lawyer."

Last month, Zhang pleaded not guilty to charges of entering restricted property and lying to a federal agent,and requested a jury trial.

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Investigators said Zhang gained admission into Mar-a-Lago on March 30 by falsely telling security she was a member and was going to swim. She also told a front desk clerk she was there for a nonexistent Chinese/American event, the Secret Service said.

Zhang was arrested after agents said they found her carrying four cell phones, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive thought to have had malware installed on it. It was later determined there was no malware on the thumb drive, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutor Rolando Garcia said agents found a device in Zhang's hotel room that could detect hidden cameras. They also found $8,000 in U.S. and Chinese currency, nine USB drives, five USB cards, and several credit cards in her name, according to Garcia.

Prosecutors said Zhang has no ties to South Florida, and it's unclear what her motive was. She previously visited the U.S. in Sept. 2018, Dec. 2017, and July 2016, according to prosecutors.

A federal judge denied Zhang's request for bond on April 15. Her trial is scheduled to begin May 28.