Prosecutors said that an SMS stream had shown that Ms. Zhang knew that the event she was supposed to attend at Mar-a-Lago had been canceled, which would have raised questions as to whether or not reasons for his trip. Her contact in Beijing, she said, had suggested she rather go to an event featuring Bill and Hillary Clinton, or to another with Warren Buffett.
"You can meet these personalities," wrote the contact, according to the English translation of the texts, introduced at the hearing. "You can stay between them and have your picture taken."
"I'm not going there," she said on March 27, after learning that the Mar-a-Lago event had taken place. "Give up," she wrote in another text shortly afterwards, referring to the trip.
And yet, later in the day, prosecutors said they bought a plane ticket for the United States, for over $ 2,000 in cash, to book a room at the Palm Beach Colony Hotel. and, once there, go to Mr. Trump's club. .
The trial in Fort Lauderdale, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, focused exclusively on the narrow questions of whether Ms. Zhang had entered a restricted property and lied to service agents secrets about the reasons for his presence. She did not investigate whether she was potentially involved in espionage – an issue that was widely debated in the media after her arrest.
As the trial began to end on Tuesday afternoon, the judge asked Ms. Zhang if she was considering a final argument in her defense. "Uh, I'm not ready," she replied.
"You are going to have to prepare," said Judge Roy Altman with slight impatience.
In his final argument, US Deputy Attorney General Rolando Garcia told the jury that "any meaningless person would have known," that Mar-a-Lago was a restricted and highly protected place, especially when the president was in residence. But such impediments did not deter the defendant, Garcia said.