And this draws the wheels of justice to a halt?
Yujing Zhang is acting as her own attorney during the federal trial on accusations she lied to a Secret Service agent and trespassed at President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach club.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The trial of a Chinese businesswoman charged with lying to a Secret Service agent and trespassing at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club bogged down Monday before jury selection over her lack of underwear, the latest bizarre moment in a case that has been filled with them.
Before the potential jurors were brought into the courtroom, Yujing Zhang told Judge Roy Altman that she was wearing brown jail garb instead of civilian clothing because she had not been provided any underwear. Defendants generally wear civilian clothing during trials to not prejudice jurors against them.
After some discussion about which agency was supposed to provide Zhang with underwear, she was taken to a holding cell and changed into a copper-colored blouse and khaki slacks found in her hotel room after her March arrest.
Zhang is acting as her own attorney during the federal trial, much to Altman’s frustration. He again tried Monday to change the 33-year-old Shanghai consultant’s mind as he did during every pretrial hearing since she fired her public defenders in June and urged her to let them try the case. When he demanded that she answer yes or no, she went into a long monologue in Mandarin. Altman cut her off before it could be translated and she finally said she didn’t want them.
He spoke to Zhang sternly Monday after she told him “I don’t know why I am here” and said she wasn’t prepared because she said she thought the trial had been cancelled.
“You know precisely why you are here,” Altman told her. He has repeatedly accused her at previous hearings of “playing games.”
Zhang primarily used a translator Monday, but at one point told Altman she hadn’t spoken Mandarin in months and was having a hard time following along.
“You speak Chinese – you are from China,” Altman replied.