MIAMI: A US federal judge on Monday said that a Chinese woman who allegedly brought malicious software to President Donald Trump’s Florida resort seemed to be “up to something nefarious,” denying her bail as she awaits trial.
On March 30, Zhang Yujing was arrested at Mar-a-Lago, where Trump was on one of his frequent visits, after attempting to enter while carrying multiple mobile phones and a thumb drive containing malware, according to court documents.
“It does appear to the court that Ms Zhang was up to something nefarious,” Judge William Matthewman said during her hearing, the Miami Herald reported.
He determined that the woman, aged 33, “must be detained as a serious risk of flight or nonappearance,” court documents said.
Zhang is not accused of espionage, but is charged with making false statements to federal officers after first claiming to be a member who wanted to use the pool, and then saying she was attending a non-existent Chinese-American friendship event.
She is also charged with knowingly entering a restricted building – which Mar-a-Lago becomes while Trump is in residence. She has pleaded not guilty.
“(The) defendant’s charges are very serious and appear to have a direct nexus to unlawfully accessing a location where the president, his family, and his staff were located or were thought to be located,” Matthewman said in the court documents.
If convicted, Zhang faces up to a five-year sentence and a US$250,000 fine.