Mar-a-Lago-Trespasser Deported to China 2 Years Later
Yujing Zhang in a 2019 court sketch. (Daniel Pontet via AP)
Sunday, 14 November 2021 08:13 PM
A Chinese businesswoman convicted of trespassing at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and lying to Secret Service agents was deported over the weekend, federal authorities said, more than two years after serving her sentence.
Yujing Zhang was turned over to immigration officials in December 2019 after serving her eight-month sentence. But she was held at the Glades County Detention Center for three times as long as her prison term mainly because of deportation delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration authorities told the Miami Herald.
At the time of her sentencing, the then 33-year-old Zhang went to Mar-a-Lago “to meet the president and family and just make friends.” When an incredulous judge questioned her about whether she thought she could really meet the Trumps, Zhang laughed loudly and said she hoped to meet other people, too.
Zhang then told U.S. District Judge Roy Altman that the president told reporters that he had invited Zhang to Mar-a-Lago. But Altman said that was another lie.
It's unclear what Zhang's motives were, but the judge said it was clearly about more than getting a photo opportunity.
After serving her sentence and while still detained by U.S. immigration officials, Zhang grew desperate to expedite her return to China. The newspaper reported she filed a petition in December 2020 to speed up the process, but was not successful.
Zhang wrote in English that she had been held at the Glades County Detention Center, had no money to call her family in China, and needed an attorney to gain her freedom and go home, according to court documents.