Federal agents questioned Mohammad Sarihifard (defendant) about a car-sale transaction that the agents believed was conducted as part of a money-laundering operation run by Sarihifard's friend and employer. Sarihifard lied about the transaction, and the agents told Sarihifard they knew he was lying. A United States government (plaintiff) prosecutor, who was aware that Sarihifard had lied to the agents, convened a federal grand jury to investigate the money-laundering operation. After informing Sarihifard of his Fifth Amendment rights, the prosecutor put Sarihifard on the witness stand, where Sarihifard once again lied about the transaction. The government successfully prosecuted Sarihifard for perjury. Sarihifard appealed his conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.