Chinese woman who fled Mar-a-Lago gets 6 months

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Chinese woman convicted of resisting arrest after she was chased from President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.

Jing Lu, 56, told County Judge Mark Eissey she made “an honest mistake" when she walked onto Trump's Palm Beach property Dec. 16 and started taking photos, one in a string of security issues at the resort. With time already served, Lu should be released by May.

Lu was chased off by a security guard but returned through a side entrance and took more pictures. Police were notified and they found her in a nearby shopping district. When they tried to arrest her, she pulled away.

She was convicted Wednesday of resisting arrest without violence, but acquitted of trespassing.

Assistant State Attorney Alexandra Dorman asked Eissey on Friday to sentence Lu to a year in jail to send a message, the Palm Beach Post reported. Even though she was acquitted of the trespassing charges, Dorman said a message needed to be sent.

“There’s great concern for this type of (incident) happening on Mar-a-Lago property,” Dorman said.

Assistant Public Defender Schnelle Tonge said since Lu was acquitted of trespassing, that should not be considered. She asked that Lu be sentenced to the two months she had already served awaiting trial.

Lu told the judge she is a retiree who had been traveling around the United States and she found Americans warm and welcoming, even in jail.

“I made an honest mistake, so my life is not perfect anymore,” she said through a translator.

Mar-a-Lago has had a rash of security breaches, with at least three trespassing events over the past 14 months, two of them involving Chinese nationals.

Last March, Yujing Zhang, a 33-year-old Shanghai businesswoman, gained access to Mar-a-Lago by telling Secret Service agents she was there to swim. Club staff then confused her for a member's daughter and admitted her before she was stopped in the lobby by a suspicious clerk who alerted other agents.

Zhang was carrying a laptop, phones and other electronic gear, which led to initial speculation that she might be a spy, but she was never charged with espionage and text messages she exchanged with a trip organizer indicated she was a fan of the president and wanted to meet him or his family to discuss possible deals.

Zhang was found guilty in September of trespassing and lying to Secret Service agents. She was sentenced in November to time served and ordered deported.

In another Mar-a-Lago trespassing case, a University of Wisconsin student was arrested in November 2018 after he mixed in with guests being admitted to the club. He pleaded guilty in May and received probation.

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