Federal prosecutors have admitted that they were "mistaken" in claiming that alleged Russian spy Maria Butina traded sex for political access.
Judge Tanya Chutkan reportedly chastised prosecutors for the mistake, which dominated early headlines surrounding the Russian gun-rights activist's case, at a hearing Monday.
Defense attorney Robert Driscoll had protested against the assertion in previous court documents, saying the only evidence for the claim came from an old text message that was sent in jest.
"It took approximately five minutes for me to review those emails and tell that they were jokes," she said during the hearing in Washington, D.C., federal court, Politico reported.
But Chutkan tore into Butina's attorneys for their repeated engagement with the media and imposed a gag order over both parties at the hearing.