Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago had device for detecting hidden cameras

Woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago had device for detecting hidden cameras

A Chinese woman charged with lying to get past security at US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club appeared in court, where prosecutors argued she was so untrustworthy she should remain in jail while authorities continue to investigate her.

Zhang was apprehended while carrying a laptop computer, four cellular telephones, an external hard drive and the thumb drive in question.

Zhang had four phones and other devices - plus she left several more, including a radio signal detector, in her hotel room nearby.

Zhang told one of the US Secret Service agents who protect Mar-a-Lago that she was there to use the pool and later told a second agent that she had been invited to a UN Chinese American Association event, though club officials determined no such event was scheduled.

Zhang was cleared to enter, and a resort staff member took her in a golf cart to the reception area. Her federal public defender, Robert Adler, requested the extension to next week because he said Zhang needs more time to have someone from China offer collateral for a bond for her release and help her find housing before a trial.

"She tells lies to everyone she encounters", he said.

That from federal prosecutors Monday at Yujing Zhang's detention hearing in West Palm Beach who are outlining their case as to why Zhang is a flight risk. The president brushed off the concerns, calling the incident a "fluke" and praising the Secret Service.

When the Secret Service questioned Zhang at the agency's office after removing her from Mar-a-Lago, the agency videotaped her interview. However, several sources said Alles' removal was not related to the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation.

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In a statement, a law enforcement official speaking on background said that anytime the agency does a forensic analysis on an electronic device, it is done in a controlled environment and on a stand-alone computer, not a Secret Service network computer. There's been some dispute over how well Zhang speaks and understands English, though the court did provide her with a language interpreter at the previous court hearing.

Adler said wire records show Zhang paid $20,000 in February to Charles Lee, a Chinese national, for admission to the event. Zhang used a translator in court on Monday to listen to the proceedings, but answered questions from the judge in English.

"Zhang was asked if the true member. was her father, but she did not give a definitive answer", according to the criminal complaint filed by Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich.

Audio and video surveillance at Mar-a-Lago didn't catch Zhang's entrance to the club - because those surveillance devices weren't used by the Secret Service at the entry checkpoint.

Zhang also provided investigators with what she allegedly claimed was an invitation to the event which was entirely in Chinese. So, it's of course possible that Zhang's thumb drive was just like every other thumb drive and happened to contain some malicious files - as opposed to malware specifically created to spy on the president or the club where he spends so much of his time.

Adler, through his questioning, prompted Ivanovich to admit the following details about the Secret Service's process with Zhang and at the private club.

But a man named Charles Lee ran the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association and was photographed at least twice with Yang, who also goes by the name Yang Li.

There is also no indication that she personally knew Cindy Yang, a Chinese native, Republican donor and former Florida massage parlor owner who made news recently after it was learned she was promising Chinese business leaders that her consulting firm could get them access to Mar-a-Lago, where they could mingle with the president.

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