April 15 (UPI) — A federal judge denied bail Monday for a Chinese woman who was arrested for attempting to enter President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Magistrate Judge William Matthewman declined to set bail for Yujing Zhang, 33, stating he believed she posed an “extreme risk of flight” and citing her financial resources in China, her lack of family in the United States and the fact that the United States doesn’t have an extradition treaty with China.
“It does appear that she was up to something nefarious when she tried to gain access to Mar-a-Lago,” Matthewman said.
Zhang has been detained since she was arrested by Secret Service agents at Trump’s Palm Beach estate on March 30 and was charged with one count of lying to a federal agent and one count of entering restricted property without permission on Friday.
On Monday, Zhang pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the incident in which she attempted to enter Mar-a-Lago with multiple electronic devices, including a thumb drive containing what the Secret Service described as “malicious malware.”
Matthewman said the evidence against Zhang is “quite strong” and federal prosecutor Ronaldo Garcia said it is possible more charges could arise.
The FBI was investigating Zhang as a potential spy, but no espionage charges have been filed.
Zhang could face up to six years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines, if convicted of the two charges she currently faces.
Garcia said Monday that findings based on FBI analysis of the thumb drive indicate the Secret Service’s assessment may have been a false positive.
During the initial test, the thumb drive automatically began downloading files, but it did not do the same during the FBI’s analysis, Garcia said.
Garcia added that she was “within arm’s length” of a computer in the club’s reception area at one point.