Latest Mar-a-Lago intruder appears at first court hearing

U.S. & World

This Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, booking photo provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, in Fla., shows Jing Lu. Lu, a Chinese national trespassed at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club Wednesday, and was arrested when she refused to leave, police said, the second time this year a woman from that country has been charged with illicitly entering the Florida resort. (Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The latest Chinese intruder at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida appeared in court Thursday, with a judge appointing a public defender as her lawyer and ordering that she remain in custody.

Jing Lu, 56, is charged with misdemeanor counts of loitering or prowling and resisting arrest without violence. A judge granted $2,000 bail but ordered Lu to be remain in custody because she is in the U.S. on an expired visa.

The judge also issued an order that Lu stay away from Mar-a-Lago, located on the wealthy Palm Beach barrier island.

Palm Beach police say Lu was confronted by the private club’s security officers at the club’s main entrance and told to leave, but she returned to take photos by walking down to a service gate.

According to a police affidavit, when security personnel approached, Lu fled on foot and was eventually apprehended in the tony Worth Avenue shopping district in Palm Beach. When officers approached her, Lu “balled up her hands into fists, crossed her arms on her chest, began screaming ‘no, no, no’ and pulling away from me,” one officer wrote in the affidavit.

After that, Lu was handcuffed and taken into custody. The affidavit says Lu refused to let investigators view the photos on her cellphone and asked immediately for a lawyer, cutting off further questioning.

Neither Trump nor his family members were at Mar-a-Lago when the incident took place. They are expected to arrive by this weekend and spend the holidays there.

In Bejing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not familiar with the Lu case.

“What I can tell you is that the Chinese government always requires that Chinese nationals overseas abide by local laws and regulations and not engage in any kind of illegal activities,” he told reporters.

Lu’s arrest follows that in March of Yujing Zhang, a 33-year-old Shanghai businesswoman, who gained access to Mar-a-Lago while carrying a laptop, phones and other electronic gear. That led to speculation 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 and was sentenced last month to time served. She is being held for deportation.

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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Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.

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An earlier version of this report had incorrect spellings of Jing Lu’s name.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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