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Trial of alleged Mar-a-Lago trespasser delayed due to lack of ... underwear

2019-09-09

The Chinese businesswoman accused of trespassing at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has now been called out by the fashion police — so to speak.

The latest bizarre twist in Yujing Zhang’s trial came Monday when the proceedings were delayed over her lack of underwear.

Zhang showed up in the Fort Lauderdale courtroom wearing her brown jail garb instead of civilian clothing, explaining to the judge that she had not been given any undergarments.

Defendants normally wear civilian clothing in court to avoid bias by members of the jury. She was allowed to go to a holding cell and change her clothing.

The wardrobe flap delayed jury selection, with opening statements expected later Monday.

Zhang is representing herself in the criminal trial, a decision that Judge Roy Altman continues to question. She compounded matters by claiming “I don’t know why I am here” in court on Monday, claiming the trial had been canceled.

“You know precisely why you are here,” Altman said, accusing the 33-year-old defendant of “playing games.”

Zhang mainly used a translator on Monday, but complained to the judge she hadn't spoken Mandarin in months and was having a hard time understanding.

“You speak Chinese — you are from China,” Altman replied.

Zhang was arrested March 30 after authorities say she lied to get past a Secret Service agent guarding Mar-a-Lago. She told a receptionist she was there for a United Nations event that night, but it had been canceled.

She was charged with lying to a Secret Service agent and trespassing. Prosecutors have filed under seal secret evidence they believe has implications for national security, even though Zhang is not charged with espionage.

Secret Service agents said she was carrying a computer, a hard drive and four cellphones. An accusation that she was carrying a thumb drive containing malware was later recanted.

Agents said the Shanghai consultant claimed she brought the electronics to Mar-a-Lago because she was afraid they would be stolen from her hotel. However, investigators say they found expensive items in her hotel room, including a device to detect hidden cameras.

Judge Altman was appointed by Trump, but told potential jurors that the president has no link to the case.

Public defenders are on standby in case she changes her mind about defending herself.

With News Wire Services