The Latest: Prosecution, defense rest in Mar-a-Lago trial
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Chinese businesswoman accused of trespassing at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and lying to Secret Service agents (all times local):
A Chinese businesswoman representing herself on charges that she trespassed at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and lied to Secret Service agents will not present a defense.
Yujing Zhang told federal Judge Roy Altman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Tuesday that she will not call any witnesses or testify. Her decision came moments after prosecutors rested their case.
Prosecutors say the 33-year-old Shanghai consultant lied to agents to gain admission to Mar-a-Lago on March 30. The president and his family were visiting the resort, but he was at his nearby golf club when Zhang arrived.
She could get six years if convicted.
An FBI translation of a Chinese businesswoman’s text and phone messages indicate she knew an event at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club was cancelled before she left Shanghai.
FBI linguist Catherine Chang told a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Tuesday that Yujing Zhang received nearly two weeks’ notice that the March 30 Chinese-American event at the president’s club was off. She had paid $20,000 to a Chinese company to attend and she demanded a refund rather than attend either an event with Bill and Hillary Clinton or investor Warren Buffett.
Testimony shows Zhang flew to the United States on March 28. Prosecutors say she went to Mar-a-Lago on March 30 and lied to agents to gain admission.
Zhang says she is innocent of trespassing and lying to federal agents. She could get six years if convicted.
A receptionist at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club says a Chinese businesswoman was acting “weird and strange,” causing her to alert a Secret Service agent posted near the lobby.
Ariela Grumaz told a federal jury Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that Yujing Zhang stood out on March 30 when she entered the club’s ornate lobby as she violated rules by taking photos and video, gawked at the furnishings and was wearing an evening dress at 1 p.m.
Grumaz said she stopped the 33-year-old Shanghai consultant before she could enter another room. She said Zhang went into a restroom when confronted by agents. Grumaz said she went inside and found Zhang walking back and forth and texting.
Zhang says she is innocent of trespassing and lying to Secret Service agents.