The federal government’s case against a Chinese woman accused of trespassing into Mar-a-Lago is moving forward.
According to The Miami Herald, prosecutors are developing what could become a national security case against 33-year-old Yujing Zhang.
She was charged with entering the property on March 30, after she told security that she was related to one of the club’s members and wanted to swim there. When a front desk clerk questioned Zhang, she said she was at the property to attend a Chinese-American event, which did not take place.
Authorities then arrested her and found four cell phones as well as an external hard drive and a thumb drive that contained malware among her belongings.
The Herald reports that prosecutors have asked a federal judge to allow them to file “classified information” under seal without Zhang or the public having access to it. If the judge grants the motion, prosecutors will be able to present the evidence directly to that judge in a private, closed meeting.
The motion reportedly says that Zhang is a “is a focus of a widening U.S. probe of possible Chinese espionage.” It also infers that federal authorities have evidence that leads them to believe she was not a tourist at the time of her arrest.
A judge ruled on Tuesday that Zhang is competent to stand trial beginning in August, and to represent herself. She asked to fire her attorneys at a previous hearing.
If convicted, Zhang could spend more than five years in prison, and could pay more than $250,000 in fines.