The United States (plaintiff) charged Avington A. Edgington (defendant) with giving a false deposition, a so-called crimen falsi or crime involving falsehood, forgery, fraud, or similar dishonest behavior. At trial, Edgington proffered competent and material evidence of his good character. The judge overruled the proffer twice. The first time, the judge said it might be proper to introduce character evidence once Edgington himself had testified. The judge did not explain the second rejection. The jury convicted Edgington, and his appeal reached the United States Supreme Court. Edgington argued the exclusion of his character evidence was reversible error.