Judge expected to rule Tuesday if suspected Mar-a-Lago intruder can represent herself at trial

Judge expected to rule Tuesday if suspected Mar-a-Lago intruder can represent herself at trial
(Source: WPTV, Federal Documents)

PALM BEACH, Fla. — A judge is expected to decide on Tuesday if a Chinese woman accused of illegally gaining entry to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on Palm Beach can represent herself at trial.

33-year-old Yujing Zhang is due in federal court in Fort Lauderdale at 10 a.m.

Last month, a psychologist determined Zhang is competent to represent herself, which she told U.S. District Judge Roy Altman she wants to do.

At Tuesday's hearing, Judge Altman is expected to decide if Zhang can fire her defense team and serve as her own attorney.

Investigators said Zhang lied her way 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.

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