A Secret Service agent stands watch as Marine One, with President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump aboard, departs Washington, D.C. as he travels to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. A judge Monday sentenced a woman who trespassed at Mar-a-Lago to eight months in prison. Photo by Erik Lesser/EPA-EFE
Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A federal judge sentenced a Chinese national Monday to eight months in prison, amounting mostly to time served, for trespassing at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in March.
Yujing Zhang was convicted on one count of lying to a federal officer and one count of entering the restricted grounds in September. Prosecutors said she misrepresented herself to initially get by Secret Service officers and staff members until a receptionist denied her access.
Authorities discovered that Zhang was carrying several electronic devices, including one that identified hidden cameras, sparking concerns that she worked for Chinese intelligence.
Zhang represented herself in court after rejecting federal public defenders. She told the courts she traveled to Mar-a-Largo to meet Trump and his family and to "make friends." Assistant public defender, Kristy Militello, who gave Zhang advice during sentencing, told the court Zhang had a "fantastical" idea of doing business with Trump.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Garcia said, though, that Zhang's actions seemed more calculated.
"She lies to everyone she encounters," Garcia said, reminding the court of the electronic devices she carried onto the property. "She tries to lie her way in to say she's going to the pool. [The possession of devices] suggests she isn't some misguided tourist. She had an agenda to be on that property."
U.S. District Judge Roy Altman ordered that Zhang be deported after she completes her eight-month sentence next week.