Regretfully, due to a scheduling conflict, I am unable to attend today’s nominations hearing to introduce a highly qualified judicial nominee from my home state of Florida – Judge Anuraag “Raag” Singhal. Judge Singhal has been nominated to serve as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida. I commend and support his nomination and the committee’s work toward Senate confirmation of Judge Singhal.UPDATE on Yujing Zhan's case: She was found guilty today after 4 hours of deliberation. The closings were interesting (via Courthouse News Service):
Judge Singhal is a graduate of Rice University and Wake Forest University School of Law, and he has lived and worked in Florida for 30 years. Most recently, Judge Singhal has served as a Circuit Court Judge in Broward County. He has extensive experience in the courtroom as both an attorney and a judge. He is active in Broward County’s legal community and is particularly proud of his ongoing work to mentor young attorneys. He is committed to honoring professionalism, honesty, integrity, and ethics in his work and in the community, and I am confident he will exhibit and exercise those qualities on the federal bench.
I thank the committee for its work on Judge Singhal’s nomination and believe that the committee will find him to be highly qualified to serve in this very important capacity.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit this statement in support of Judge Singhal’s nomination and confirmation.
In the courtroom Tuesday, prosecutors called a cavalcade of FBI agents and analysts to the stand, but Zhang declined to ask them a single question.
“She’s just not gonna do anything,” prosecutor Rolando Garcia said while closing arguments were being scheduled with U.S. District Judge Roy Altman.
Altman, a Trump appointee who is one of the youngest federal judges in the country, urged Zhang in pretrial hearings to enlist counsel, to no avail.
On Tuesday evening, he denied Zhang’s request for more time to prepare final remarks to the jury.
“You’re going to have to get ready,” Altman told Zhang.
The defendant, who describes herself as a China-based investment consultant, stood up and in a quiet, disjointed voice delivered a less-than-five-minute closing statement. It was one of the only moments throughout the trial where she took steps to defend herself in front of the jury.
“I am a bit nervous,” Zhang said. “I did nothing wrong.”
Zhang reminded the jury of a service contract that, by all accounts, involved her paying $20,000 to a Chinese agent to arrange her trip to a Mar-a-Lago gala.
The March 30 event supposedly would give Zhang and other Chinese attendees an opportunity to rub shoulders with Trump and his family and meet high rollers in the Palm Beach social scene.
“I made contract to go to Mar-a-Lago to go see the president … see his family,” Zhang said in broken English.
According to prosecutors, Zhang was told by the Chinese agent that the event was canceled. But she flew to the United States anyway, went to the posh Palm Beach resort and lied her way in, prosecutors say.
“There was no event. She knew there was no event. … She was bound and determined to get on that property,” Garcia told jurors during his closing argument.
He cited cellphone communications in which the Chinese agent told Zhang, “We can forget about [the Mar-a-Lago event].”