The Chinese woman who was convicted of trespassing at Mar-a-Lago reportedly claims that she wanted to discuss real estate with President Trump.
Yujing Zhang was convicted by a federal court in Florida last week of trespassing and lying to a federal officer.
The 33-year-old Chinese national was arrested in March after entering Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach carrying multiple mobile phones and a malware-spiked thumb drive.
She initially told Secret Service agents she was headed to the swimming pool, but she did not have a bathing suit with her.
Yuji Zhang (left), 33, was convicted in federal court last week of trespassing at Mar-a-Lago. Text messages reveal that she wanted to discuss real estate with President Trump (right)
Zhang was convicted in federal court of lying to a federal official and trespassing, though she was never charged with espionage. She is seen (bottom left) in the above court sketch from April 15, 2019
The Shanghai native then claimed to be attending a non-existent Chinese-American friendship event.
She carried two passports from the People’s Republic of China, according to the US Secret Service which arrested her.
Passport stamps reveal that she was admitted to the U.S. on four other occasions before the March 28, 2018 trip that preceded her arrest.
The Miami Herald reported earlier this year that on two of those trips – in July 2016 and January 2017 – she stayed at a Trump hotel property in New York City.
Zhang was arrested on March 30 after she allegedly lied to get past a Secret Service agent guarding Mar-a-Lago, saying she was there to use the pool
Her arrest stoked fears that she was engaged in espionage, a crime for which she was never charged.
But text messages which she sent hours before her arrest indicate that she had no interest in politics.
‘I was thinking that since Trump himself was in real estate business so that perhaps we could have something to talk about,’ she wrote in a text message to Charles Lee, a Chinese travel agent who arranged her trip.
The texts were obtained by the Palm Beach Post.
‘In terms of politics … it’s not like that I really .. really understand much of the struggling relationships among the political dignitaries,’ she writes.
‘We don’t get involved in election or political relations. I — I personally don’t want to get involved in — involved in this situation. Get it?’
Some of the text messages that Zhang exchanged with Lee were read to the jury, who never heard an explanation from her as to why she went to Mar-a-Lago.
Against the advice of the judge, Zhang represented herself during the trial, declining the services of a lawyer.
It was learned during the trial that Lee arranged the trip for Zhang to Mar-a-Lago even though she knew that an event featuring Trump’s older sister, Elizabeth Trump-Grau, had been canceled.
Zhang flew from Shanghai to Palm Beach, with a stopover in Newark.
Trump was staying at Mar-a-Lago that weekend but was at his nearby golf club when Zhang arrived
Yujing Zhang was arrested with two passports, four cell phones, and a USB drive that a Secret Service agent found had malware when inserting it into his computer
Zhang’s passport included stamps for the times she entered the U.S.
She reportedly spent $20,000 in cash for a seven-day trip that included stops in Palm Beach, Washington, DC, and New York.
The benefit featuring Trump’s sister was canceled a week earlier because of developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller was probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
In text messages to Zhang, Lee writes: ‘But the Trump’s event is cancelled for the time being, mainly because of the Russian investigation.
‘The investigation report says Trump did not involve. Trump now is about to punish and take revenge on those who wrongly accused him, including the media.
‘So, his events are temporarily put on hold for the time being.
‘If there are other events that we can go, that .. I will let you know.
‘I will make arrangements. No worries. But this is none right no, none right now. Huh.’
Zhang doesn’t respond.
Lee then asks her if she’s more interested in real estate.
Zhang responds: ‘Right. Right Right.’
In a court hearing earlier this year, Zhang’s lawyers submitted a flyer touting a Mar-a-Lago event in Chinese and featuring a picture of President Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump-Grau
Zhang also told Lee that she had no interest in sightseeing. Instead, she was eager to meet important people.
‘Let’s say, after the White House tour, can you organize something like meeting with the legislators on that day, for example. Er, … some Congresspeople .. . or the Congress,’ she wrote.
‘Have a chat with some of them, or watch their … or watch their section, something like that. Can you organize an activity like that?’
After the event with Trump’s sister, which was a benefit fundraiser, was canceled, Lee offered Zhang the opportunity to fly to Detroit, where Bill and Hillary Clinton were hosting a fundraiser.
But Zhang declined.
Zhang will be sentenced on November 22.