19:57 GMT17 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US authorities have formally charged Yujing Zhang — the Chinese woman arrested trying to enter Mar-a-Lago last month — with lying to a federal agent and entering restricted property without permission, according to published reports on Friday.

    The indictment does not include espionage charges, despite the authorities continuing to treat her case as a national-security matter, sources familiar with an ongoing counterintelligence investigation told the Miami Herald.

    READ MORE: ‘She Lies to Everyone’: Chinese Woman Arrested at Mar-a-Lago Appears in Court

    Zhang possessed Chinese passports and a flash drive containing malware when arrested late last month, and police found a signal locator capable of detecting hidden cameras, other electronic devices and thousands of dollars in cash in her hotel room, federal prosecutors said earlier.

    Zhang, 33, could face up to five years in prison for lying to a US federal officer, one year for entering restricted grounds and as much as $350,000 in fines, according to court documents cited by the report.

    US Senator Elizabeth Warren in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General’s office called for a probe of President Donald Trump's firing of Secret Service Director Randolph Alles in light of the recent breach at Mar-a-Lago. Warren said the Mar-a-Lago incident involving a possible Chinese spy and Alles firing raise concerns of how the White House is handling security matters at the resort and elsewhere.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has said Alles would step down and be replaced by James Murray, a career member of the Secret Service. The Secret Service falls within DHS control.

    Trump purchased the Mar-a-Lago property in 1985. It has since been dubbed the Southern White House.

    READ MORE: Tickets to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve Party More Expensive Than Ever


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    illegal entry, charges, Mar-a-Lago, US Secret Service, Yujing Zhang, Donald Trump, US
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