Last November, a college freshman illegally gained entry to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, sometimes called the “Winter White House,” WPTV reports. The man, a University of Wisconsin freshman named Mark Slattery Lindblom, pleaded guilty to entering the property illegally while Trump was present, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Lindblom entered the property in November 2018 through an underground tunnel and wandered around for 20 minutes before he was caught, according to the report. He pleaded guilty to a count of entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and was sentenced to a year of probation.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Lindblom tricked Secret Security into believing he was a member of the exclusive club when he was in Florida for Thanksgiving break. It seems fooling the agents was exceedingly easy.
From the Post:
Visiting his grandparents, who are members of the nearby Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club, Lindblom simply walked down the beach the two clubs share.
Once at a tunnel under State Road A1A that gives Mar-a-Lago members exclusive access to the beach, Lindblom stood in line with club members who were waiting to pass through a metal detector manned by Secret Service agents, said his attorney Marcos Beaton.
“Mr. Lindblom was wanded by Secret Service agents and he walked on through,” Beaton said.
The fact that a college student could simply wander into a party attended by the president certainly raises some concerns about security at Mar-a-Lago!
Only a few months after Lindblom’s adventure, a Chinese woman named Yujing Zhang also entered the property illegally, carrying malware on a thumb drive.
Lindblom’s case shows that Zhang isn’t the only one to have breached the walls of the resort. Who knows how many people have snuck into the property since Trump became president?
“I can say it wouldn’t happen today,” U.S. Attorney John McMillan told the Post.
But unlike Zhang, Lindblom seemingly entered the club out of simple curiosity.
“We have no reason to believe he had a political, criminal or terroristic purpose,” McMillan said during the case. “It was a foolish decision he did on a lark.”
Lindblom apparently took a few photos on his phone, but didn’t do anything else while inside the resort.
“I wanted to see how far I could get,” Lindblom told U.S. Magistrate William Matthewman in court.
The college freshman apologized for putting Secret Service agents at risk.
“These men and women are dedicated to serve us and protect the president,” Lindblom said, according to the Post. “I’m so sorry for wasting their time.”
“It seems to me pretty clear that Mr. Lindblom committed this offense as a youthful indiscretion more out of misplaced curiosity,” Matthewman said.
“I’m sure you’ll become a productive member of society despite this youthful indiscretion,” he added. How nice.
Lindblom may have gotten off easy, but Zhang is currently being held in prison without bond. Matthewman said in April that it seemed when she entered the resort she was “up to something nefarious.” Zhang has since said she wants to represent herself in court. Last week, U.S. District Judge Roy Altman ordered that she undergo a mental health examination.